After a Texas rancher invited the vigilante border patrol group Ranch Rescue to guard his property in 2003, two Salvadorans crossing the U.S. border were terrorized and assaulted by members of the group. The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Salvadorans, obtaining more than $1 million in a settlement and judgments, including the title to Ranch Rescue’s Arizona headquarters.
Diabetic inmates in Alabama face vision loss, convulsions, and amputations due to substandard care. Others are at risk of heart attacks, nerve damage, strokes, kidney failure, and death. The case has reached a precedent-setting settlement and is currently in a monitoring phase.
The ventilation system on Alabama's death row was broken, resulting in stifling, stagnant, medically dangerous heat in the prisoners' 55-square foot cells. The Center sued to allow inmates to purchase fans at their own expense. An anonymous donor provided free fans to all death row inmates.
When Alabama correctional guards handcuffed Larry Hope to a metal hitching post and left him shirtless, virtually without water, and without bathroom breaks in the Alabama sun for seven hours, they should have known that their actions were unlawful, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2002.
Each year, thousands of immigrant children are detained and deported. Alone, unable to speak English, and without lawyers, they wait in detention centers to learn their fate. The Center filed a groundbreaking lawsuit to establish their right to legal representation, but the case was dismissed. The district court ruled that children do not have a legal right to an attorney during removal proceedings.
Under cover of night and without the knowledge of his fellow justices, the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court installed a 2 1/2-ton Ten Commandments monument in the rotunda of the state judicial building. The Center sued, and the monument was removed from public display; Chief Justice was subsequently removed from office due to ethics violations.
The Imperial Wizard of one of the most aggressive Klan groups in the country detained and terrorized two journalists covering a story about a planned Klan rally. The Center sued, winning a $120,000 judgment, and investigating criminal charges that sent the Klan leader to prison.
Victoria and Jason Keenan were chased and shot at by members of the Aryan Nations in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Held at gunpoint, the mother and son feared for their lives. The Center sued and obtained a $6.3 million jury verdict; Aryan Nations was forced to turn its compound over to the victims it had terrorized.