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Economic Justice

Date Filed

October 19, 2015

The SPLC filed a judicial ethics complaint against Perry County (Alabama) Circuit Judge Marvin Wiggins after he required people unable to pay court fines to either donate blood or go to jail.

The complaint described how Wiggins threatened defendants in his court with jail on Sept. 17,...

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.

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.

Children's Rights

Date Filed

April 13, 2004

At Columbia Training School, one of Mississippi's abusive juvenile prisons, a policy made it nearly impossible for injured children to speak with attorneys who are willing to help.

LGBTQ Rights

Date Filed

September 26, 2012

Brian Edwards and Tom Privitere were shocked to discover that an anti-gay hate group took their engagement photo and used it in political mailers to attack a Colorado lawmaker in 2012 for supporting same-sex civil unions. The SPLC and its allies filed a federal lawsuit against the group, Public Advocate of the United States, for misappropriating the likeness and personalities of the couple. It also charged that the group infringed on the photographer’s exclusive right to the photo.

Children's Rights

Date Filed

July 12, 2018

Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission, an entity created every 20 years to revise the state’s laws, attempted to place a constitutional amendment on the state’s 2018 ballot that would have eliminated the duties of school boards to regulate public schools in their districts, including...

Hate & Extremism

Date Filed

June 26, 2003

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.

Immigrant Justice

Date Filed

October 19, 2011

Linda Smith, a U.S. citizen, and “John Doe,” an undocumented immigrant, had been a couple for more than nine years. When they decided to marry, they could not obtain a marriage license from the Montgomery County Probate Office in Alabama because the office denied licenses to couples unable to prove both partners have legal immigration status. The policy was not required by any federal or state law. The SPLC filed a lawsuit challenging the policy.

Date Filed

February 10, 2010

Bernard Monroe Sr., an elderly black man, was shot to death on his front porch by a white police officer who had entered his house in Homer, La., without apparent justification or a warrant. The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a wrongful death lawsuit that alleged two white officers created a volatile situation when they entered Monroe’s property during a gathering of his family and friends on Feb. 20, 2009. A settlement agreement was reached with the town in August 2010.

Criminal Justice Reform
Immigrant Justice

Date Filed

October 12, 2011

South Carolina passed an extreme anti-immigrant law in 2011. The law required police to demand “papers” demonstrating citizenship or immigration status during traffic stops when they have “reasonable suspicion” that a person is an undocumented immigrant. It also criminalized everyday interactions with undocumented immigrants. The SPLC joined a coalition of civil rights groups in filing a federal class action lawsuit challenging the law as unconstitutional. A settlement reached in 2014 blocked major provisions of the law.

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