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Children's Rights

Date Filed

July 08, 2010

Children at Sarah T. Reed Elementary School in New Orleans were subjected to unlawful arrest and excessive force – including handcuffing and shackling – for minor violations of school rules. The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a federal class action lawsuit on behalf of a first-grade student handcuffed and shackled to a chair by an armed security officer after the student argued with another youth. A settlement agreement resulted in the school district prohibiting the use of fixed restraints and limiting the use of handcuffs.

Criminal Justice Reform
Immigrant Justice

Date Filed

February 07, 2013

When Alabama legislators revised the state’s anti-immigrant law in 2012, they passed a law requiring the state to maintain an online list of immigrants who are detained by law enforcement, who appear in court for any violation of state law, and who unable to prove they are not “unlawfully present aliens.” It provided no means for people to be removed from this “black list” if the listing is an error or if their immigration status changes. The Southern Poverty Law Center and its allies filed a federal lawsuit to stop this state-sanctioned “blacklisting” of immigrants, which could encourage harassment and violence.

LGBTQ Rights
Active Case

Date Filed

August 14, 2012

When Janet Jenkins’ former partner disappeared with their daughter during a lengthy custody battle, Jenkins filed a lawsuit against her and others alleging they had conspired and aided in the international kidnapping. The SPLC joined the case and, with the assistance of co-counsel, successfully...

Children's Rights

Date Filed

February 01, 2005

The Southern Poverty Law Center, along with attorneys from the Southern Disability Law Center and the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana, obtained a class-wide settlement agreement affecting all special education students with Emotional Disturbance in Jefferson Parish.

Immigrant Justice
Active Case

Date Filed

April 08, 2020

The SPLC and its allies filed a lawsuit seeking the immediate release of people with preexisting health conditions held at a south Georgia detention center during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 – a situation that placed these detained people at greater risk of contracting the virus that causes...

Three young North Carolina black men once sentenced to die for the rape of a white woman were freed from prison in 1975 under a settlement negotiated by SPLC attorneys as their case went to trial a second time. They spent two years in the Edgecombe County jail in Tarboro, N.C., before gaining their freedom.

Hate & Extremism

Date Filed

September 19, 2005

This is a lawsuit against four young white men who terrorized, humiliated and beat a mentally retarded African-American man, dumped his unconscious body on the side of a dark country road and left him for dead. In 2007, a jury awarded a $9 million verdict to help the family pay for the care the victim will need for the rest of his life.

Criminal Justice Reform

Date Filed

May 27, 1997

Inside Chess, Harper's, Astronomy, Writer's Digest — only a few of the hundreds of publications effectively banned in 1997 under an arbitrary policy implemented by the Alabama prison's warden. The Center sued, securing an agreement protecting inmates' rights to mailed reading materials.

Economic Justice
Active Case

Date Filed

February 12, 2020

Alabama’s unconstitutional laws against panhandling violate the First Amendment’s freedom of speech protection. The SPLC and its allies filed a federal lawsuit to immediately stop the city, county and state from enforcing two statutes that prohibit panhandling.

The complaint describes how...

Criminal Justice Reform

Date Filed

April 02, 2012

Prisoners at the Orleans Parish Prison in Louisiana endured rampant violence, multiple sexual assaults and neglect. The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a federal lawsuit against Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin N. Gusman, charging the sheriff’s indifference created the brutal and inhumane conditions at the jail. The SPLC reached an agreement with officials in December 2012 to address the brutal and inhumane conditions at the Orleans Parish Prison.

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