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Criminal Justice Reform
Active Case

Date Filed

September 05, 2019

The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) places hundreds of children in solitary confinement on any given day. The SPLC, Florida Legal Services and the Florida Justice Institute filed a federal class action lawsuit to end the use of solitary confinement in the state’s juvenile detention...

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

January 19, 1988

On Christmas Day 1987, Loyal Garner, a black man who had never been in trouble with the law, was beaten to death in an East Texas jail after being arrested on a traffic charge. After a state court jury acquitted the three implicated in the killing, the SPLC won financial security for Garner’s widow and six children in a federal civil rights action. Evidence uncovered by SPLC investigators led to the subsequent criminal conviction of the three lawmen.

Immigrant Justice
Active Case

Date Filed

April 13, 2020

As the COVID-19 virus threatened the health and lives of people held at immigration detention centers in 2020, the SPLC and its allies filed a federal class action lawsuit seeking the immediate release of all people held at three detention centers in South Florida.

The complaint describes...

Children's Rights

Date Filed

November 09, 2011

The state of Georgia discriminated against students with disabilities by funding public schools through a formula that encouraged schools to unnecessarily segregate students with disabilities to receive greater funding. The Department of Justice launched an investigation after the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a complaint with the department charging the state of Georgia and the Georgia Department of Education with violating the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Criminal Justice Reform
Immigrant Justice

Date Filed

June 02, 2011

Georgia in 2011 enacted a law authorizing police to demand "papers" demonstrating citizenship or immigration status during traffic stops, criminalizes Georgians who interact with undocumented individuals, and makes it unjustifiably difficult for individuals without specific identification documents to access state facilities and services. The SPLC joined a group of organizations in filing a class action lawsuit challenging the law on constitutional grounds.

Children's Rights
Landmark Case

Date Filed

September 08, 1971

In the early 1970s, several private segregated academies were allowed to use public recreational facilities in Montgomery, Ala., for football and baseball games – a practice that meant taxpayers were subsidizing these all-white schools as the public school system was being integrated. The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a federal lawsuit that resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court finding the city’s practice unconstitutional.

Economic Justice
Active Case

Date Filed

October 23, 2017

The private company Professional Probation Services (PPS) has a contract with a municipal court judge and the city of Gardendale, Alabama to illegally place defendants who cannot pay their fines and court costs on probation. The Southern Poverty Law Center sued on Oct. 23, 2017 in federal...

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.

Immigrant Justice

Date Filed

February 19, 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.

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