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Criminal Justice Reform
Active Case

Date Filed

February 06, 2017

Louisiana officials denied poor people their constitutional right to counsel by failing to establish an effective statewide public defense system. The SPLC and its allies filed suit in state court fix the broken system.

In 2016, a funding crisis forced as many as 33 out of 42 public...

Hate & Extremism

Date Filed

February 22, 2007

The Southern Poverty Law Center sued the Imperial Klans of America (IKA) and four Klansmen, saying several members were on a recruiting mission for the group in July 2006 when they savagely beat a teenage boy at a county fair in Kentucky. A jury found IKA leader Ron Edwards and two other members responsible for the attack and awarded $2.5 million to the teen. The SPLC moved to seize Edwards’ interest in the IKA headquarters to satisfy the judgment.

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.

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

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.

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.

Children's Rights
Criminal Justice Reform

Date Filed

June 02, 2011

Children held at the Henley-Young Juvenile Justice Center in Jackson, Miss., were denied mental health services and subjected to verbal abuse and threats of physical harm by staff members. The Southern Poverty Law Center and Disability Rights Mississippi filed a class action lawsuit in June 2011 after numerous attempts to resolve the issues with county officials failed. A settlement agreement to protect youth at the facility was approved in March 2012.

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.

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...

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.

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