CRT Biweekly Newsletter October 21, 2016

  • As Americans across the country begin voting, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch released a video message explaining that the Department of Justice will dispatch hundreds of federal monitors to polling places around the country.  In the video she said, “as the American people prepare to go to the polls, I want them to know that we stand ready to ensure that every voter can cast his or her ballot free of unlawful intimidation, discrimination or obstruction.” 
  • The Justice Department filed a statement of interest arguing that the Fair Housing Act (FHA) requires that landlords who consider criminal records in evaluating prospective tenants do not use overly broad generalizations that disproportionately disqualify people based on a legally protected characteristic, such as race or national origin.
  • The Justice Department announced that it has moved to intervene in Savage et al. v. Pocomoke City et al., a private lawsuit alleging race discrimination and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by Pocomoke City, Maryland, the Worcester County Sheriff and the state of Maryland.
  • The Justice Department and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a joint guidance letter to state and local child welfare systems on the requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its implementing regulations.  Title VI prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. 
  • The Justice Department published a blog post celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month, which highlighted stories about people impacted by the department’s Olmstead enforcement efforts and explained: “Protecting the rights of people with disabilities to work in, and contribute to, their communities makes our entire country stronger.  When we commit to supporting, protecting and empowering our neighbors to work, our communities flourish.  Employers benefit from diligent, talented and innovative employees invested in the success of their companies.  And when employees and employers thrive alongside one another, our entire economy prospers.  During National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we need to spread that message across America.”
  • Former Hancock County, West Virginia, Sheriff’s Deputy Mark A. Cowden, 51, of Weirton, West Virginia, was convicted by jury of using excessive force against an arrestee.
  • Former Bullitt County, Kentucky, Sheriff’s Deputy Matthew Corder, of Louisville, Kentucky, was sentenced to 27 months in prison for willfully depriving a county resident of his constitutional rights.
  • The Justice Department reached an agreement with the University of New Mexico (UNM) to ensure that UNM responds swiftly and effectively to allegations of sexual harassment, including sexual assault, involving students.  The agreement resolves the department’s findings of UNM’s non-compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  • The Justice Department reached a settlement with American Cleaning Company (ACC) resolving claims that the company discriminated against work-authorized non-U.S. citizens in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).  ACC is a maintenance and janitorial company based in Brighton, Massachusetts.
  • The Justice Department filed a proposed consent decree to resolve allegations that Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by using inaccessible classroom and other technologies.
  • Vanita Gupta delivered remarks at Howard University School of Law’s Wiley A. Branton Symposium, where she called policing “a defining civil rights issue of our time” and said that “although we have made great legal and social progress towards a more inclusive nation, if we truly reflect on the causes of unrest, we must acknowledge the role of discrimination and its bitter fruit: inadequate schools; segregated housing; unequal economic opportunity; and interference with our most sacred rights – from religious freedom to voting.”  She went on to say: “That’s why in the Civil Rights Division, we are firmly committed to ending discrimination – root and branch – in all aspects of life.  The current climate in our country – with widespread public engagement on these issues – gives us a unique opportunity to do so.  And I am hopeful that if we address these challenges with candor, we can achieve real progress.”
  • Former Berrien County, Georgia, Sheriff, Anthony Heath, 45, was sentenced to 30 months in prison and three years of supervised relief, for using excessive force against two non-resistant arrestees.
  • The Justice Department announced that the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware terminated the remedial settlement agreement governing the state of Delaware’s service system for people with serious and persistent mental illness.  The court agreed with the joint motion of the state and the Justice Department that Delaware had fully complied with the terms of the agreement, based on the assessment of an independent court monitor.

Twitter: @CivilRightsAAG | @CivilRights

Updated December 28, 2016

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