2021 Impact Report
NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Las Vegas attorney Athar Haseebullah joined the ACLU of Nevada in January, 2021, becoming the first person of color to lead the organization.
WELCOME TO OUR NEW TEAM MEMBERS
- Christopher Peterson
- Lilith Baran
- Sophia Romero
- Marilyn Morales
- Geneviéve Guiererrez de Lynch
- Anthony Curry
- Courtney Jones
2021 NEVADA LEGISLATURE
The 81st Session of the Nevada Legislature began against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and a summer of unrest following the high-profile killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. People across the country and here at home took to the streets to demand an end to systemic racial injustices.
Our team tracked nearly 300 bills, provided testimony and educational materials, met with legislators, negotiated with opponents, and was successful in keeping bad policies from advancing. We are proud of our work this session, but our fight continues.
EXECUTION TRANSPARENCY - NEVADA PRESS ASSOCIATION V. SISOLAK
Under the First Amendment, the public is entitled to have independent witnesses view state executions in their entirety. Most often this responsibility has fallen on the news press, which tells the public what happened at the execution, especially if the state messes up. As the state of Nevada continues to fight to perform its first execution in 15 years -- using experimental drug cocktails and an untested facility -- this responsibility takes on even greater weight.
Our plaintiff, the Nevada Press Association, represents news organizations throughout the state, many of whom will be called upon to witness an execution if it moves forward.
PROTECTING PROTESTORS IN RENO
The city of Reno targeted peaceful protesters demonstrating against the city's encampment sweeps with criminal citations, so the ACLU of Nevada partnered with defense attorney Ken Stover and signed on to two motions. Thanks to our legal advocacy, the city dropped the citations against all five protestors.
AB450 was passed in 2019 to end "prison gerrymandering," a practice where incarcerated people are counted where they are imprisoned rather than their home community during redistricting. However NDOC reported it did not have known addresses for over 5,000 people in its custody, which is approximately half NDOC’s population. The ACLU of Nevada jumped into action, ensuring an additional 1,000 incarcerated people were counted in their home communities.
An amicus brief is a powerful tool for legal advocacy. Here are a few examples of this important work our Legal Department did in 2021.
Cates v. Stroud
In May, the ACLU of Nevada and the Policing and Protest Clinic at the UNLV Boyd School of Law, filed an amicus brief in Cates v. Stroud, a case on petition for review before the United States Supreme Court.
Williams v. Lazer
This case arises out of a defamation lawsuit filed by Mr. Lazer, a white man, against Ms. Williams, a Black woman. Mr. Lazer represented Ms. Williams in a real estate transaction and, according to Ms. Williams, made statements that were racist and sexist during the course of the sale.
UNLV PEOPLE POWER
We're nurturing the next generation of civil rights champions through increased engagement with Nevada colleges and universities. In 2021, we worked with UNLV students to form our first student organization, UNLV People Power. We also worked to increase our engagement with students at UNR, CSN, and NSC.
PROTECTING THE VOTING RIGHTS OF NORTH LAS VEGANS - MARTIN V. CITY OF NORTH LAS VEGAS
In December, the ACLU of Nevada filed a case in order to restore the ability of North Las Vegas residents to elect a municipal court judge of their choosing. The city of North Las Vegas adopted an ordinance in early 2021 in direct violation of the North Las Vegas City Charter, which mandates that when the city appoints a judge to fill a vacant position in the municipal court, their successor must be elected "(at) the first primary or general municipal election that follows. Instead, the city appointed a judge to a 6-year term, skipping two full election cycles.
In a victory for voting rights, the court ruled this month that the judicial seat for North Las Vegas Municipal Court Department 1 must go before voters in 2022.