Publications - Know My Rights

A Society of Suspects: The War on Drugs and Civil Liberties

On December 15, 1991, America celebrated the 200th anniversary of the Bill of Rights. On October 2, 1992, we mark the 10th anniversary of an antithetical undertaking -- the War on Drugs, declared by President Reagan in 1982 and aggressively escalated by President Bush in 1989. This country's Founders would be disappointed with what we have done to their legacy of liberty: The War on Drugs, by its very nature, is a war on the Bill of Rights.

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Sallie Mae NOT!

As federally sponsored student loan giant Sallie Mae prepares to go private, it's squeezing every last penny from student borrowers while opening up scads of new businesses. How can you protect yourself? ...A friend showed me this article while we were discussing potential legal action against Sallie Mae for some questionable business practices. If this is the way they ran their operations in 2003, how in the world are they still allowed to operate?! They should be strung up in the town square, their executives burned in effigy!

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Citizen's Guide: Disability Rights Laws

This guide provides an overview of Federal civil rights laws that ensure equal opportunity for people with disabilities. To find out more about how these laws may apply to you, please contact the agencies and organizations listed herein.

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Arrest & Incarceration Statistics

Here in American, a/k/a "The Land of the Free", we have more people locked up being "not free" than any other country in the world. Though the United States has fewer than 5% of the global population, we claim nearly 25% of the world's prisoners! How did this happen? We did it to ourselves...

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Police Contact With The Public

Analysis of an LAPD report documenting traffic stop data between July 1 and November 30, 2002 reveals that 99% of drivers stopped by police in Los Angeles consented to officers' search requests. The report also shows that 7.4% of African American drivers and 5.3% of Hispanic drivers stopped by police were asked for permission to be searched, while only 1.5% of white drivers were asked for consent to search.
Source: "POSTING MOTOR VEHICLE AND PEDESTRIAN STOP DATA", Los Angeles Police Department, 2002

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Race, Prosecution & Prison

Most drug offenders are white. Five times as many whites use drugs as blacks. Yet blacks comprise the great majority of drug offenders sent to prison. The solution to this racial inequity is not to incarcerate more whites, but to reduce the use of prison for low-level drug offenders and to increase the availability of substance abuse treatment.

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Racial Profiling

The Supreme Court's removal of meaningful Fourth Amendment review allows the police to rely on unparticularized discretion, unsubstantiated hunches, and nonindividualized suspicion. Racial prejudice and stereotypes linking racial minorities to crime rush to fill the void. Department of Justice reports on racial profiling confirm an alarming racial disparity in the rate at which motorists are searched by local law enforcement.

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Florida Voting Rights Report

This report describes alarming problems, including how widespread confusion among Florida election officials about the restoration of civil rights process contributes to disfranchisement. This report also identifies a new problem -- the perception that, in April 2007, Florida Governor Charlie Crist resolved Florida's mass disfranchisement crisis by engineering reforms in the Florida Rules of Executive Clemency through the Board of Executive Clemency, composed of the Governor and Florida's Cabinet officers. That inaccurate and unfortunate perception has become a barrier to effectively eradicating our state's shameful Civil War era legacy.

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Citizen's Guide: Small Claims Court

"Small claims" divisions of local district, county or municipal courts have become just the ticket for those seeking truth, justice and equitable relief from all the people and places who have wronged you. Think of small claims court as "Plaintiffs-R-Us" -- it's user-friendly (you'll get help filling out paperwork); filing fees average around $50.00; and best of all, your claim can usually total several thousand dollars or more. Don't run to the courthouse just yet, though. This guide should serve as a good primer on what's in store and how you can best find the resolution you deserve.

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Your Identity In Crisis: Skimming, Phishing, Dumpster Diving

It is truly amazing how accessible information has become in recent years. We seldom stop to think how easily and quickly certain things can be done, like approving a credit card, transferring money, or a filling a prescription. While this can be a big positive in many respects, one must also consider the potential downside to having certain data so readily available. The following information will help you to take a proactive approach in securing your information and keeping your identity safe. Remember, education is the best defense against fraud and deception.

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Free Speech Rights On Private College Campuses

The First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States protects individual freedoms from government interference. It does not, as a rule, protect individual freedoms from interference by private organizations, such as corporations or private universities. Private universities, then, are free, within the law, to define their own missions; and though some choose to restrict academic freedom on behalf of this or that religious or particular agenda, most private, secular colleges and universities (and a vast number of private church-affiliated campuses) once prided themselves, however, on being special havens for free expression. Unfortunately, that circumstance has changed. Even some of America's most elite private, secular, and liberal arts colleges and universities have become centers of censorship and repression, but their nature as a private entity alone does not necessarily grant them the authority to silence their students at will.

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Don't Pay For An Education In Fraud: Protect Yourself From Scholarship Scams

There are a lot of "official" looking offers that will come your way when you start looking for scholarships, grants, and loans for college. You will hear of these so-called offers at seminars, in emails, over the phone from telemarketers, and online. These offers and their websites may look "official" and sound real, but they are actually scams or just plain rip-offs.

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Door-To-Door Sales Scams

Door-to-door sales of magazine subscriptions have become an excellent vehicle for those devoted to perpetrating fraud on unsuspecting consumers in recent years. While most companies that employ this marketing technique are legitimate, the general public should be aware that there are a large number of these businesses that seem to have no problem taking advantage of consumers. Any time a stranger knocks on your door and expects to be given access to your home, there is major risk involved.

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