Welcome to the online home of
The Peoria Chapter of the Illinois ACLU
(American Civil Liberties Union)
Peoria ACLU Blog

Illinois ACLU

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President: Jeff Johnson
Vice-president: Jimena Lopez
Secretary: Terry Matthews
Treasurer: Ken Hofbauer
Links to articles, below
Links to blogs, below
Site updated: April 2, 2018
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Peoria ACLU News, Spring 2018

Colleen Connell Remarks,
2018 ACLU Lunch,
March 23

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Peoria ACLU Meetings

-- Open to all members & friends --

The Board of Directors of the Peoria ACLU meets at 7 p.m.
on the 4th Tuesday of every month (except December) in the conference room of the
Universalist-Unitarian Church
at 3000 W. Richwoods Boulevard, Peoria.

The Peoria chapter's monthly discussion night takes place
at 7 p.m. on the 2nd Thursday of the month at
The Rhythm Kitchen,
305 SW Water Street, on the waterfront, Peoria.

ACLU Peoria Blog is UP
Click here to view it.
Email the webmaster to join it.

And if that's not enough:
You can have your own ACLU Peoria Email address:

Email me above if you're interested.

Peoria Chapter, ACLU of Illinois, By-laws

Peoria-area ACLU joins the fight to protect immigrants
from Trump’s proposed Ban on Muslims & other immigrants, including international refugees…

Link to the Proposed Ordinance

Since the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration, his administration immediately tried to begin implementing his blatantly unconstitutional campaign promise of a travel ban to prevent Muslims and other immigrants from entering America (Trump referred specifically to those immigrants he considered “undesirables”).  This ban was in addition to his stated plan to build a wall on the USA southern border, to keep out refugees of Latin America. 
In addition, Trump has moved to overturn the Obama-era “Dream Act” and to ratchet-up the efforts to break-up families, by deporting immigrants already living in the USA.  This includes the federal government forcing itself into the workings of state and local municipalities by demanding their cooperation with I.N.S.
The ACLU wasted no time in educating state and local ACLU chapters how we can have a very immediate impact on constraining Trump’s efforts.  For the Peoria-area ACLU, this took the form of presenting a ‘People Power’ day-long seminar in March, as well as partnering with similarly-interested local groups to act on the local level.   
One pressing matter was the City of Peoria’s potential implicit involvement –whether intentional, or not– of feeling compelled to assist the federal government in having undocumented immigrants deported.  With that concern, the Peoria-area ACLU teamed with others to draft a proposed city ordinance, which would ensure that City of Peoria employees and Police would not feel threatened to carry-out the work of the I.N.S. nor feel coerced to break-up families or help initiate the deportation of productive community members, without benefit of due process. 
ordinance, which our chapter is promoting for City Council consideration, is currently being reviewed by two of the city’s commissions/ committees.  Based on the recommendation of either of those two city bodies, the ordinance could be placed on the Peoria City Council agenda for consideration and a vote, as early as August 2017.

PJ-Star Reports on lack of abortion service
availability in Central Illinois

From PeoriaStory.com:

PEORIA, IL -- American Civil Liberties Union lawyers on March 9, 2016, won round one in its federal lawsuit against the city of Peoria in the Twittergate case.
Judge Michael Mihm refused the city's motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
"Our client gets his day in court," said ACLU Illinois spokesman Ed Yohnka, after the hearing ended.
There were no sparks in the hour long hearing before Judge Mihm. There was a lot of talk about the city's idea that the Twitter site, a parody of Peoria mayor Jim Ardis, fell under the state's law against impersonating a public official.
The lawyers and judge discussed whether police had probable cause to enter the resident of plaintiff Jon Daniel, search his house, seize his electronic equipment, and detain him at the police station, all based on impersonating the mayor by posting a parody site on Twitter.
Mihm did not seem to be buying that argument. The basic issue is free speech under the US Constitution.
Without microphones, much of the hearing was difficult to hear, but Mihm's ruling was crystal clear. Now discovery will take place, and who knows what juicy information will be forthcoming.
Mihm also mentioned the word 'settlement,' and his ruling might spur settlement talks.  The city, with its budget in the red, as of mid January had spent almost $58,000 in legal fees, according to documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. A waste of taxpayer dollars?

1st and 4th Amendment Issues in Peoria
(A.K.A. "Twittergate")

Original details below, for updates go here

On April 15, 2014, Peoria police raided a residence to find out who had posted a parody site on Twitter that made fun of Peoria mayor Jim Ardis, and prosecute that person for "impersonating a public official."

There was a tiny problem:  under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, a parody Twitter site is protected as free speech.  Under the 4th Amendment, there was no reason to issue the search warrant in the first place.

In other words, it’s not illegal to make fun of the mayor, no matter how awful the things that are said.  And parodies are not constitutional grounds to issue search warrants.

Three local judges signed search warrants, and likely the States Attorney gave permission for the raid to take place; he has denied this allegation.
The police turned the house upside down, seized all electronic equipment, and detained the occupants. The police found marijuana, and one occupant admitted it was his. He was arrested.
With the ensuing uproar, the States Attorney dropped the Twitter parody charges, but the marijuana charge remains against the man who admitted possession, and who had no relationship to the Twitter account.  He is free on bail, with a court hearing set for May 15.

Last June, ACLU National released a report on the state of the war on marijuana in the US, and the vast racial disparities in arrest rates for marijuana possession. While blacks and whites use marijuana at similar rates, in Illinois blacks are 7.6 times more likely than whites to be arrested for possession -  one of the highest rates in the country. Several Illinois counties – including Champaign and Peoria counties, have even higher disparities.

Download the whole report (pdf):

Download the 1-pager on Illinois:

Here’s a link to a 2009 national ACLU report, Illinois is on page 51.

This material could be used for letters to the editor or op-ed pieces.

Helping Women at Abortion Clinics:

Click here for online information about the Illinois Judicial By-Pass Coordination Project, about Illinois' parental notification laws regarding teen-age abortions and teens seeking a judicial by-pass.

JD Wheeler Memorial Project

A special hello to our Macomb-area members

For more information, click on and Email one of the linked officers, above.

Links to webites or articles of interest to ACLU members (found by the webmaster or forwarded from members & friends)

Please note - this feature is for the interest of readers only.  If you have an article, editorial, etc. that you think members and friends of Peoria ACLU might find interesting/fun, please send the link to the webmaster.

Know a story you think should be linked here? Email the webmaster or the chapter president.

Blogs and Sites of local Peoria interest:

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