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Children's Rights

Date Filed

May 12, 2011

The public school system of Mobile County, Ala., violated the constitutional rights of students by suspending them for months at a time over minor misbehavior without giving parents and guardians an opportunity to defend them. The SPLC filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of six students suspended for apparent minor misbehavior such as un-tucked shirts, tardiness or failing to carry a school ID.

Children's Rights

Date Filed

December 01, 2010

Students in Birmingham, Ala., schools were sprayed with pepper spray as punishment for routine offenses. The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of district students to end the practice and other abusive and unconstitutional behavior.

Immigrant Justice

Date Filed

May 14, 2008

Migrant farmworker Victor Marquez was traveling to his hometown in Querétero, Mexico, to pay for his new home, only to have his life savings seized by police who alleged it was drug money. During the May 5, 2008, traffic stop in Loxley, Ala., a police officer confiscated more than $19,000 from Marquez even though he earned a majority of the money by working the bean harvest in south Florida. Marquez was not charged. The Southern Poverty Law Center won the return of the money after the state refused to provide documents and information requested by SPLC lawyers representing Marquez.

Immigrant Justice

Date Filed

February 09, 2006

After the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a federal complaint alleging dangerous work conditions at Gold Kist’s poultry processing facility in Russellville, Ala., the company reached a settlement agreement with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to pay more than $80,000 in fines. The agreement also outlined steps the company would take to ensure employee safety.

Criminal Justice Reform

Date Filed

May 13, 2003

Due to a lack of access to doctors and long delays in diagnosis and treatment, seriously ill inmates at one of Alabama's maximum-security prisons sued to receive adequate healthcare.

Criminal Justice Reform

Date Filed

April 09, 2003

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.

Criminal Justice Reform

Date Filed

August 13, 2002

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.

Date Filed

October 30, 2001

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.

Criminal Justice Reform

Date Filed

May 13, 1999

The Alabama DOC prohibited its prisoners from receiving gift subscriptions for publications. Inmates were forced to buy subscriptions from their prison trust accounts.

Children's Rights
Landmark Case

Date Filed

October 13, 1998

An African-American teenager was denied school enrollment simply because she was homeless. The Center immediately sued, and "Penny Doe" was soon enrolled in school. The case was settled with officials adopting policies to ensure compliance with federal law.

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