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 ACLU may head to court with Alamance County

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March Mellow



Join date : 2009-04-26
Posts : 209
Location : Char-Meck

PostSubject: ACLU may head to court with Alamance County   Thu May 28, 2009 12:54 am

ACLU, county may be headed to court
Comments 21 | Recommend 5
May 26, 2009 - 4:51 PM
Robert Boyer

The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina and the Alamance County government appear headed for a court battle over how much the county wants to charge the ACLU for sheriff's office documents.

The two sides failed to reach a compromise during a mediation session in Raleigh last week.

County Attorney Clyde Albright, who's representing the sheriff's office, said the county is sticking by its offer to provide photocopies of two jail log books for $1,750, and charge 25 cents per page for thousands of copies of traffic citations and other documents.

The ACLU wants the documents to try to determine, among other things, whether the sheriff's office is profiling Hispanics through its 287 (g) immigration enforcement partnership with the federal Bureau of Customs Enforcement.

The 287 (g) program, named after the section of federal law that created it in 1996, authorizes federal authorities to train and deputize local lawmen and jailers as federal immigration and customs agents.

A recent report by the ACLU and the UNC School of Law in Chapel Hill said 287 (g) programs in North Carolina "are being used to purge towns and cities of ‘unwelcome' immigrants" and encourage or "at the very least" tolerate "racial profiling and baseless stereotyping, resulting in the harassment of citizens and isolation of the Hispanic community."

Sheriff Terry Johnson's 287 (g) program has been in place for just over two years and recently came under fire from community activists who have similar concerns.

Johnson has said repeatedly his office isn't targeting Hispanics and is operating 287 (g) to the letter of the law.

A study in April from Elon Professor Laura Roselle reported that sheriff's deputies had written 850 more citations over a five-year period that ended in 2008 than as reported by Sheriff Terry Johnson. Sheriff's Maj. Tim Britt more or less confirmed Roselle's numbers in a later report to the county commissioners, and said the sheriff's office's "grossly underreported" numbers were the result of computer issues, human error and a lack of internal controls.

The commissioners have since passed a resolution supporting the sheriff and his use of the program.

In a letter sent to Albright last week, ACLU Legal Director Katy Parker said no other Tar Heel sheriff's office or police department had charged her organization "more than $75 for the requested copies."

Ten cents a copy is a reasonable charge, she says, one that more accurately reflects state law that mandates public bodies charge for "actual costs" and generally excludes charging for man hours, redacting and other such costs.

Albright counters that state law provides exceptions for such large-scale and onerous redacting and copying and says 25 cents is the going rate for copies at a number of local and federal agencies.

Despite the mediation attempt, the two sides appear to share little common ground judging from their most recent comments.

Albright said the ACLU decided to "make an issue out of the copying" after looking at the traffic checkpoint reports in late April and concluding the sheriff's office wasn't profiling Hispanics. He also thinks, based on conversations with officials in Cumberland County, that the ACLU is requesting many more documents from Alamance County than from agencies elsewhere.

Parker said she reviewed, but didn't study, the documents when she met with county officials and has made no such determination about profiling. The ACLU is treating the sheriff's office no different than any other agency, she added.

Parker's letter to Albright also requests "a final written assessment of the exact amount" the sheriff's office will charge.

The ACLU will pay the $1,750 for the cost of unbinding, photographing and rebinding the jail logs if the county "can prove its actual cost," Parker said.

"Without such proof we have no other choice" than to litigate, she said.

Albright is sticking to his price but offered an alternative. "We're not hiding anything. They can come down and look at every single page and write down what they want," he said. "I'm just trying to comply with the law."

Parker is likewise sticking with her arguments, and says she will proceed with legal action if Albright fails to respond to her request to provide evidence of the actual costs by Tuesday, May 26.

http://www.thetimesnews.com/news/aclu-25325-county-court.html
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dogman



Join date : 2009-04-24
Posts : 19

PostSubject: Re: ACLU may head to court with Alamance County   Thu May 28, 2009 4:15 am

Quote :
Albright is sticking to his price but offered an alternative. "We're not hiding anything. They can come down and look at every single page and write down what they want," he said. "I'm just trying to comply with the law."

After reading this offer by Mr. Albright, one might think the ACLU sees it as too costly to go to Alamance County and digitally photograph each page they requested (which could then be reproduced on any desktop printer), but they will certainly quibble about reimbursing the county for doing the same job on their behalf! I can hardly wait to hear the judge's response from the bench when he/she ponders that same observation if the ACLU begins court action...
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March Mellow



Join date : 2009-04-26
Posts : 209
Location : Char-Meck

PostSubject: Re: ACLU may head to court with Alamance County   Thu May 28, 2009 12:18 pm

I spent a little time rolling around on the floor laughing at this. I guess the ACLU doesn't have anyone to sue this month, and I am sure the court system is only working a few hours every week because of no cases.
I think ACLU should do this, as undoubtedly it will hit the national news and show them for the fools they really are.
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