Center For Constitutional Rights - Activities and Litigation

Activities and Litigation

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Al Odah v. United States, 127 S. Ct. 3067 (2007): the latest in a series of habeas corpus petitions on behalf of people imprisoned at the Guantanamo Bay detention center. The case challenges the Military Commissions system’s suitability as a habeas corpus substitute and the legality, in general, of detention at Guantanamo.

Arar v. Ashcroft, 585 F. 3d 559 (2009): challenges U.S. government’s extraordinary rendition policies and highlights the experience of Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen allegedly sent by the United States to be tortured in Syria. He has never been charged, and has been found by the Canadian government to be uninvolved with terrorism. He and CCR seek an acknowledgment of the U.S.'s alleged involvement and an end to the rendition program.

Abtan v. Blackwater, 611 F.Supp.2d 1 (2009): CCR filed suit on behalf of the civilian victims of the September 16, 2007, Blackwater Baghdad shootings in Nisoor square, Baghdad, by Blackwater USA’s armed contractors. The suit charges that Blackwater “created and fostered a culture of lawlessness amongst its employees, encouraging them to act in the company’s financial interests at the expense of innocent human life.” Blackwater is also accused of extrajudicial killing and war crimes, assault and battery, wrongful death, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, and negligent hiring, training and supervision.

CCR v. Bush: This lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the NSA’s surveillance of people within the United States without warrant or prior court approval.

Daniels v. City of New York, 291 AD 2d 260 (2002) / Floyd v. City of New York, 739 F. Supp. 2d 376 (2010): This case forced the New York City Police Department to end their practice of stopping and frisking people solely on the basis of their race or national origin. The case also highlighted the practices of the NYPD Street Crimes Unit (responsible for the 1999 shooting of Amadou Diallo), leading to its disbandment. The case’s settlement created an internal audit system of officers engaged in stop and frisks, the results of which are turned over to CCR on a quarterly basis. In addition, the settlement required the NYPD to begin “know your rights” public education programs. CCR is currently attempting to compel the NYPD to comply with the terms of the settlement.

Estate of Ali Hussamalde Albazzaz v. Blackwater Worldwide: This case is a civil suit filed on behalf of the family of an Iraqi man. CCR is charging Blackwater Worldwide with war crimes.

Khan v. Bush: This suit is filed on behalf of Majid Khan, a U.S. asylum-holder who was held in secret detention at a C.I.A. "black site" for three years, after which he was transferred to the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. CCR has filed a habeas corpus submission on his behalf.

Kunstler v. City of New York, 439 F.Supp.2d 327 (2006): This lawsuit charges the New York Police Department with unlawfully arresting allegedly peaceful anti-war protesters and holding them for allegedly excessively long periods of time.

Mamani v. Sanchez de Lozada / Mamani v. Sanchez Berzain, 636 F.Supp.2d 1326 (2009): These two suits have been filed against the former President of Bolivia, Gonzalo Daniel Sánchez de Lozada Sánchez Bustamante and former Minister of Defense, Jose Carlos Sánchez Berzaín for their alleged roles in the deaths of civilians during popular protests against the government of Bolivia in September and October 2003.

Matar v. Dichter, 500 F. Supp. 2d 284 (2007): CCR presented a federal class action lawsuit against the former Director of Israel’s General Security Service (GSS), Avi Dichter, on behalf of Palestinians killed or injured in a 2002 “targeted killing” air strike in Gaza. It charged him with extrajudicial killing, war crimes and other gross human rights violations. The case was dismissed, and the dismissal upheld on appeal.

Saleh v. Titan, 361 F. Supp. 2d 1152 (2005): Saleh is a federal class action lawsuit against Titan and CACI International Incorporated, contractors who provided interrogation services at Abu Ghraib. The lawsuit accuses the contractors of cruel and humiliating treatment during interrogations.

Turkmen v. Ashcroft: This suit, filed on behalf of a class of Muslim, South Asian, and Arab non-citizens, is a class action civil rights lawsuit contesting their being swept up by the INS and FBI in a racial profiling dragnet following 9/11.

United States v. City of New York (formerly Vulcan Society v. City of New York): This is an Equal Opportunity Commission charge filed by CCR on behalf of the Vulcan Society, an organization of Black firefighters in New York City. The lawsuit charges Fire Department of New York with discriminatory hiring practices.

Wiwa v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, 626 F.Supp.2d 377 (2009), Wiwa v. Anderson, and Wiwa v. Shell Petroleum Development Company: These are three lawsuits focusing on the human rights abuses against the Ogoni people in Nigeria. They are being brought against the Royal Dutch Petroleum Company and Shell Transport and Trading Company (Royal Dutch/Shell), the head of its Nigerian operation, and Royal Dutch/Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary for their complicity in the abuses.

Zalita v. Bush, 127 S. Ct. 2159 (2007): This case forwards a habeas corpus petition for Mr. Al Qassim, a Libyan refugee currently detained in Guantanamo after almost six years who the U.S. government wishes to transfer back to his native country despite the possible threat of torture and persecution.

International Criminal Court Complaint, 2011 On September 13, 2011, attorneys from the Center for Constitutional Rights and leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, formally filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) charging top Vatican officials for tolerating and enabling the concealing of rape and child sex crimes worldwide. At least 20,000 pages of reports, policy papers, and crime evidence by Catholic clergy supplemented the complaint.

The Amicus Brief in Ragbir v. Holder (2011) The Amicus Brief in Ragbir v. Holder was submitted on May 23, 2011. Amici are several community, immigrant justice, and civil rights organizations who argue that the Second Circuit interfered with Ragbir's right to introduce relevant evidence. The Second Circuit wrongfully did not remand Ragbir v. Holder to the Board of Immigration Appeals to apply broader evidentiary standards established in the Nijhawan v. Holder case.

Brown, et al. v. Snyder, et al. (2011) This June 22, 2011 case was filed on behalf 28 Michigan residents, and it effectively challenges the Emergency Manager law and Local Government and School Fiscal Accountability Act under the State Supreme court of Michigan. The amended complaint, filed by the CCR on September 14, 2011, challenged the constitutionality of the application of the Emergency Manager law.

Civic Association of the Deaf of New York City, Inc. v. Rudolph Giuliani, et al. (1995) When New York City introduced a plan to remove fire alarm boxes and replace them with payphones, the Civic Association of the Deaf of New York City filed this suit under the Americans with Disabilities Act to block that action because pay phones are not easily accessible to the deaf or the hard of hearing.. This federal class action law suit resulted in a victory for the Plaintiffs. When the New York City Fire Department and the City of New York requested that the court modify or dispose of the injunction in June 2010, the court again ruled in favor of the Civic Association of the Deaf of New York City on August 15, 2011.

Doe, et al. v. Jindal, et al. (2011) On February 16, 2011 the CCR filed a suit that challenged the need for "Crime Against Nature" convictions to result in a registration on the state sex offenders list. The defendants in this case were several Louisiana state officials. On October 31, 2011, the CCR moved for a Summary Judgement.

Amicus Brief in Glik v. Cunniffe, et al. (2011) On January 25, 2011, CCR submitted an amicus brief on behalf of Glik and several Copwatch groups. The essential argument is that recording police activities by individuals or organizations within a community is protected by the First Amendment. In September 2011, the judge ruled in favor of Glik stating that his First Amendment rights had been violated.

Aref, et al. v. Holder, et al. (2010) This case, filed on March 30, 2010, challenged policies and conditions of experimental prisons in Indiana and Illinois. Exactly one year later, the court partially dismissed the case, but allowed the CCR to pursue procedural due process and retaliation claims.

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