Financial Report Annual Report 2003
Substantial financial resources are essential to pursue the wide-ranging civil liberties activities of the ACLU of
Florida. What is remarkable about the ACLU is the way that financial support is raised — by the energetic and Message from the ACLU of Florida President
dedicated work of committed Board members, staff and dozens of volunteers. They are the engine that drives all These are dark and perilous chapters in Lee County, Treasure
that the ACLU is able to accomplish. The ACLU receives no government funding. Its existence depends entirely times for civil liberties in our country, Coast, the Panhandle and, most
Photo by Judy G. Rolfe.
and it is easy to feel discouraged about recently, in Volusia/Flagler
upon private donations, foundation grants, court-awarded legal fees and membership dues. the future of those liberties. But there is counties, where a chapter was
reason for optimism. In response to the chartered in December 2003.
pressures to reduce liberty in the name of Formation of a chapter is now
safety, the ACLU nationally and here in underway in Monroe County.
ACLU Foundation of Florida Operating Income and Expenses Florida has been growing exponentially. Student groups are also
Fiscal year ending March 31, 2004 To share with you that growth in Florida, burgeoning. Today we have six,
"let's do the numbers." including our first-ever high
The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization and contributions to it are deductible for income tax purposes. Ten years ago, the ACLU of school group in Orlando.
Florida had approximately 11,000 Our operating budget
REVENUE AND SUPPORT: EXPENSES: members and supporters in this State. today is four times the size of
our budget in 2000. Increased
Contributions and grants $1,097,266 Program Expenses $683,174 contributions and grants have
Bequests $222,321 Supporting expenses: permitted us to expand our staff
Attorney fee and cost reimbursement: $16,696 Management and general $115,428 in that time period from nine that
Event loss/revenue, net $10,267 Fund raising $100,682 year to sixteen today. We have
Investment gains $230,783 Total expenses: $899,284 doubled our legal staff from two
National revenue sharing $4,872 Changes in net assets $690,851 to four full-time lawyers, whose
Other income $7,930 Net assets, beginning of year $1,232,828 work is supplemented by ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero front and center at the March for Women’s Lives on April 25 in Washington, D.C. More
Net assets released from restrictions - attorneys from the community than 75 ACLU members from Florida attended the historic event.
Net assets, end of year $1,923,679 who volunteer to take on ACLU
cases. We have also doubled the number and centers around the state to help ex- a historic march sponsored, among
Total revenue and support: $1,590,135 felons apply for restoration of their others, by the ACLU. And in May, at our
of staffed offices we maintain, adding to
our two established offices in Miami and rights, and meeting with Supervisors of Annual Nelson Poynter Award Dinner,
Tallahassee two new ones -- a Northwest Elections to press for procedural and we honored Cheryl Little, Executive
Florida office in Pensacola and a West operational reforms in the maintenance Director of Florida Immigration
ACLU of Florida Operating Income and Expenses ACLU of Florida President Jeanne Baker. Central Florida office in Tampa; two of voter lists and deployment of new Advocacy Center, for her extraordinary
Fiscal year ending March 31, 2004 parts of our state that suffer woeful civil voting systems. work in trying to bring due process,
The ACLU is supported primarily by membership dues. Three years ago, just before the events of liberties violations but until now have Other issues are also at the top liberty and justice to the "huddled
September 11, 2001, we had grown to lacked local staffed ACLU offices to of our agenda. The ACLU of Florida is masses yearning to breathe free."
15,000; a year ago, to 18,000. But today, support volunteer efforts. actively engaged in working to educate Some would say that we owe
REVENUE AND SUPPORT: EXPENSES:
we have more than 22,000 members and Most importantly, all of this the public about the USA PATRIOT Act, much of our newfound growth to
supporters – a growth of 50 percent in growth has translated into more program. with Chapters regularly holding town Attorney General John Ashcroft. But
Membership: $285,760 Program Expenses: $211,699
the past decade, but almost 25 percent in In addition to its steady output of hall meetings on this topic and this is only part of the story. The rest of
Bequests $273,144 Supporting expenses:
the last year alone. lawsuits, legislative lobbying, and public successfully working for the passage of the story is that we have a superb
Investment gain $31,784 Management and General: $37,755 city and county resolutions supporting Executive Director and staff, a
Other income $1,893 Fund raising $27,306 Our chapters have similarly education on a wide range of important
grown in number. Fifty years ago, civil liberties issues, the ACLU of the Bill of Rights and opposing the committed State Board of Directors who
Total Expenses: $276,760 Patriot Act. So far, Broward, Alachua, work hard to ensure the financial
Florida had but one chapter – the first Florida recently initiated and has now
Total revenue and support: $592,581 Change in Net Assets $315,821 Sarasota, Lee, and Tampa have joined the underpinnings of the organization,
ACLU organization below the Mason- taken a lead statewide in two critical
Net Assets at the beginning of the year $179,029 growing list of communities to take such enthusiastic Chapter Boards who keep
Dixon line, in Miami. Twenty-five years voting rights areas -- the re-
later, the number of Florida chapters had enfranchisement of ex-felons, and the action. the flame of civil liberties alive in
Net Assets at the end of year $494,850 increased to seven. Today, that number protection of the rights of citizens to The new Northwest and West communities across the state of Florida,
has more than doubled to fifteen chapters have their votes counted accurately. Central Florida offices recently launched and you, the members and supporters
Source: Audited financial statements for the year ending March 31, 2004 by L. Brown and Company, P.A.
Copies available by writing: ACLU, 4500 Biscayne Blvd., #340, Miami, FL 33137. scattered around the state – core groups Chapters are assisting in this voting a renewed commitment to racial justice who are the very backbone of this
which meet regularly to monitor and rights work by collecting petitions to in this State. In April 2004, we organization. Thank you for your
respond to civil liberties violations "on eliminate the felon-disenfranchisement subsidized a contingent of Florida ACLU continuing support and solidarity!
the ground," in their local communities. provision of the Florida Constitution, members to travel to Washington, D.C.,
In just the last few years, we have added volunteering at ACLU-run workshops to join in the March for Women's Lives,
ACLU-FL Volunteers and Interns
Photo by Jeff Borg.
We thank the following volunteers and interns who have helped build our
program and carry out our message through their dedicated work in the
The Courage to be a Civil Libertarian — When It Counts
HOWARD L. SIMON issue before the Supreme Court was Supreme Court included the following as was done for the Japanese
Stephen Narain Amber McNair EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR whether the federal courts had plea: “It is only natural that in times of internees.
Diana Gibson Lindsey Siegel
Jennifer Brown Pilar Siman jurisdiction to review any claims of crisis our government should tighten the It is a lot harder, and it
Tommy Wilson Antionette Virgin Last November Fred Korematsu wrongful imprisonment made by the measures it ordinarily takes to preserve requires greater courage, to be a
Candance Carreno Racquel Wolowitz filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the detainees. our security. But we know from long civil libertarian when it counts. And
James Clayman United States Supreme Court. The court rejected the experience that we often react too that time is now.
Korematsu asked the Supreme President’s assertion of unreviewable harshly in circumstances of felt necessity Attorney General John
With Thanks to the Following Attorneys Court to decide whether the doors of the discretion. “A state of war is not a blank and underestimate the damage to civil Ashcroft claims to be making the
For Donating their Services in 2003-2004: nation’s federal courts will be open or check for the President when it comes to liberties. Typically, we come later to country secure from terrorism by
closed to detainees held by the U.S. the rights of the nation’s citizens,” wrote regret our excesses, but for many that championing the USA PATRIOT
Michael R. Barnes Matt Moore military at Guantanamo Bay. Some of the Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. recognition comes too late. The challenge Act, issuing Executive Orders for
Robert E. Biasotti Kathrine M. Mortensen detainees claim that they are not “enemy This was not the first time that is to identify excess when it occurs and secret arrests and secret trials, and
John R. Blue Colleen O’Laughlin combatants” but were swept up on the Korematsu appeared before the U. S. to protect constitutional rights before dramatically expanding government
Mark Brown Joel Perwin streets of Afghanistan or simply turned
Michael A. Cheah Beverly Pohl Supreme Court. In 1942, five months they are compromised unnecessarily. efforts to spy on innocent people.
Charlotte Danciu Rachel A. Ramsey over by U.S. paid bounty hunters. after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, These cases provide the court with the This is a defense of freedom that
W.F. Casey Ebsary Jr. Paul Rebein The High Court issued its Korematsu and Gordon Hirabayashi opportunity to protect constitutional will turn our country into a police
Philip L. Graham Jr. Lida Rodriguez-Taseff historic rulings in the cases of the challenged their arrest under President liberties when they matter most rather state.
Jim Green Bruce Rogow Guantanamo detainees and the U.S. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066, than belatedly, after the fact.” When the history of the
Ephraim Hess Gregory Samms citizens held in military brigs as enemy ordering the internment of all Japanese With the wisdom of someone post 9/11 period is written, it will be
8 Bruce Howie
Louis M. Jepeway, Jr.
Greg Shibley combatants in June.
The administration claimed to
Americans. whose life was turned upside down by a the small number of visionary and 1
James Andrew Kent Sydney Smith The Supreme Court’s rejection previous inept response to a national dedicated ACLU members, those
William A . Knight Stacey K. Sutton have the right to hold the detainees of Korematsu and Hirabayashi’s appeal, emergency, Korematsu is urging us not to with the courage to be a civil
Steven Kozlowski Gray Thomas indefinitely, for the “duration of upholding the forced removal of be “civil libertarians in hindsight.” Too libertarian when it counts, who will
Doug Laycock Glen Torcivia hostilities,” without charges and without
Luke Lirot Sylvia H. Walbolt approximately 120,000 persons of often, we just acknowledge that there are be seen as the true patriots.
Howard Marks Lynn Waxman Former Palm Beach Chapter Chair Ruth Gottlieb and husband, Joseph Gottlieb, enjoying a bite to eat during
access to a lawyer, and that its judgment Japanese descent, is one of the most always innocent victims in any war and
Mike Masinter the cocktail reception at the ACLU Foundation of Florida’s 25th Annual Nelson Poynter Civil Liberties Award in these matters was not reviewable by shameful chapters in our history. end up apologizing and compensating the
Dinner held on May 22 in Coral Gables. anyone, including the federal courts. The Korematsu’s brief to the victims of our mistakes many years later,
About the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida ACLU Desilver Society
The American Civil of malfunctions of voting equipment. signature-gathering in various areas of the spend a considerable amount of time The DeSilver Society is named after Albert DeSilver (1888-1924), one of the founders of the American Civil Liberties Union and the
Liberties Union of Florida, with In addition to improving the way state. Nearly 500,000 signatures are responding to requests for media first ACLU member who made certain that his support for civil liberties and the work of the ACLU would live on after his death.
headquarters in Miami, is the state votes are cast and counted, the ACLU of required to place the amendment on the interviews and making frequent television
affiliate of the national organization. Florida is working to end an enormous ballot. and radio appearances in English and The ACLU established The DeSilver Society to recognize those thousands of supporters who, in the same spirit of Albert DeSilver,
Chartered in 1965, the ACLU of injustice underlying our entire voting Spanish. Reporters may call our offices extended their commitment to the defense of civil liberties beyond their lifetimes through bequests, life income plans or other giving
Florida operates with the help of 16 process — the mass disenfranchisement Legislative Advocacy up to 15 times per day when they are options.
staff members and 15 volunteer-run of more than 600,000 Floridians with past Much of the ACLU of Florida’s seeking comment on issues such as
chapters across the state. The felony convictions. In Florida, civil rights work to protect civil liberties is carried voting rights, police misconduct or gay The struggle to defend individual rights never ends, because no generation can secure liberty for all time. Each generation must do
organization's oldest chapter — the adoption. its part to keep the promise of the Bill of Rights alive.
Greater Miami Chapter of the ACLU From March 2003 through April
of Florida — was founded in 1955. 2004, we issued 77 press releases and The ACLU of Florida gratefully acknowledges the devoted support of the following DeSilver Society members who have provided
Photo reprinted with permission from Associated Press.
The newest chapter — the organized press conferences on the civil the ACLU with the resources needed to protect civil liberties for future generations:
Volusia/Flagler chapter covering liberties implications of Section 215 of
DeSilver Society member Dr. Ethelene C. Jones.
Daytona Beach and surrounding the controversial anti-terror law dubbed
areas — was chartered in December the USA PATRIOT Act, court arguments
2003. in the ACLU’s challenge to Florida’s gay Anonymous David Eidelkind Lisa Baez Kidd Harry I. Rubin
In addition to its Miami adoption ban, the issue of paper trails for Patricia M. Arnold Clyde Ellis Stewart Kohn Maria Teresa Sanchez
office, the ACLU of Florida also has touch-screen voting systems. Although Mary Jane Bauer Kurt Flachs Gerald Kurland Leo and Frances Sandron
offices in Tallahassee and Pensacola. press calls are usually handled through Phyllis H. and Jack M. Bennett Melvin Frank Carla Lamarr Leonard Sanaginario
Robert Blacher Irving P. Golden F. Keith Lathrop Richard Sargeant and Peter Genovese
We opened a fourth office in Tampa the state office in Miami,
Sydelle Blatt John Gorman Toni Latino Lewis Serbin
in April 2004 staffed by attorney Communications Director Alessandra William T. Bode Enid Gottesman Denis Loring Samir Siddiqui
Rebecca Harrison Steele. Officially Soler Meetze often drafts press releases William M. Boyd Howard Greenfield Randall C. Marshall Sandra L. Snow
named the ACLU of Florida West and coordinates media interviews with Jo Ann and Don Boydston Ellen M. Griswold Earle McGue and Pauline Heffley Larry H. Spalding
Central Florida Office, the Tampa chapter representatives. ACLU of Florida John Anthony Brown Jane Gross Siobhan McLaughlin Jean Stanley
Richard A. Busemeyer Joseph and Susan Haislip Wayne E. McNaughton Robert G. Stevenson
office is home to our new Racial Executive Director Howard Simon
Eleanor Carlson Ada G. Halbreich Carole Mehlman Ralph L. Struever
Justice Project. At a press conference in Miami earlier this year, Barry Steinhardt, Director of the ACLU’s Technology and Liberty
frequently writes opinion columns and Bret Cipes Charlotte Hamlet Tom and Bonnie Menaker Stanley L. Swart
Program, discusses disturbing new revelations about the MATRIX database surveillance program. “Letters to the Editor” in newspapers Richard C. Connolly Ida Herst Oscar Merber Carl E. Trough
Legal Program across the state, as do staff members and Norris Crenshaw and Frank Greer Audrey Hirsch Ramon Mestre Thaddeus Vernik
The ACLU of Florida’s lost upon conviction of a felony include out in the legislative halls of our Capitol chapter board representatives. Michael Cuddy Sandy Hoover Fulvia Mombello-Russo E. Landon Walston
Anthony J. D’Aniello Arthur Immerman Frances Jellinek Myers Doug and Sue Wartzok
Legal Department undertakes not only the right to vote, but also the in Tallahassee. We maintain a strong In April 2003, the ACLU of
Helen Gordon Davis Clifford R. Jackman Nancy Foley Noonan Anne S. Wax
litigation that advances and defends right to hold certain state job licenses, presence in Tallahassee, where Legislative Florida launched a redesigned website George and Madeline Day Jacques F. Jacobson Marilyn Lee Perron Nathan O. White
constitutional rights in Florida. Each which makes it difficult for many people Staff Counsel Larry Spalding serves as that incorporates new features such as a Claire DeSilver Donald Wolcott Johnson Gregg Phifer Darlene Williams
year, we litigate about 60 cases under to support their families as productive, the ACLU’s voice before the Florida "Take Action" section, which allows Albert R. Dilley Ethelene C. Jones Jan Reiner Alan Winet
the guidance of our legal director, tax-paying citizens. Legislature. During the 2004 Legislative members to sign-up to receive daily John W. Donnelly Chet Kaufman Hugh W. Ripley Lynn E. Wolf
Alan Ehrlich P.J. Keagle Larry S. Roberts
Randall C. Marshall. His work is In an effort to provide people Session that capped near midnight April action alerts. A new security feature on
supplemented by highly respected with past felony convictions with in- 30, Spalding tracked more than 100 bills the website also allows civil libertarians For more information about wills, charitable gift annuities or other gift planning opportunities, contact the ACLU’s planned giving department toll-free at (877) 867-
attorneys who donate their time and depth, ongoing assistance throughout the with civil liberties implications. The to become members on-line and to 1025, or send an email to DeSilver@aclu.org. Supporters who have already included the ACLU in their wills or estate plans are encouraged to notify the ACLU’s
talent to the ACLU. often years-long process of applying for ACLU lobbied aggressively against a purchase tickets for ACLU events using a Planned Giving Office. We want to welcome you as a member of The DeSilver Society.
Over the past year, the restoration of their civil and voting rights, joint resolution that asks voters to credit card. The website (www.aclufl.org)
ACLU of Florida has been called the ACLU of Florida opened four Rights approve a constitutional amendment contains information in English, Spanish
upon to defend constitutional rights Restoration Advocacy Centers this past authorizing the Legislature to pass a law and Creole, including briefing papers,
in the important areas of freedom of
religion, freedom of speech, voting
rights and privacy. We dedicated
year in Miami, Tallahassee, Homestead
and Pensacola. We also launched a toll-
free hot line to help people regain their
requiring that parents be notified when a
minor seeks an abortion. Although the
dangerous bill passed during the recent
ACLU publications and "Know Your
Rights" brochures. Since the launch of
the new site, we've seen a significant
Investors in Liberty
much of our legal efforts to fighting rights. Former felons can call the number session, the ACLU is seeking a court jump in web traffic. As compared to Thanks to our many supporters who have contributed so generously to the ACLU. We want to single out those supporters in Florida who made extraordinary
attempts by state officials to intrude — 1-877-U-COUNT — from 9 a.m. to 5 injunction to prevent the issue from going figures from 2002, we’ve seen nearly a contributions to the ACLU/ACLU Foundation of Florida in 2003. Their names appear directly below. Because of the generosity of all of our donors, the values of the
on the privacy rights of Floridians. p.m. Monday through Friday. before voters on November 2. The lawsuit 70 percent increase in web traffic due in Bill of Rights continue to be more than a promise on paper. We also want to thank those Board members and other volunteers who have participated in our efforts to
One particularly disturbing showcase The struggle to end Florida's argues the ballot language is large part to the streamlined, user-friendly raise funds to support the ACLU’s work on behalf of civil liberties in Florida and across the nation.
of extraordinary power came on voting ban against people with past “intentionally misleading” because it design.
October 21, 2003 when the Florida felony convictions took a dramatic new suggests that privacy rights will be In 2003, the ACLU of Florida President’s Committee Liberty Council Freedom Circle Janet R. McAliley
Gold Circle ($5,000 to $9,999) ($1,000 to $2,499) George McEver
Legislature passed a one-time bill turn this year. Florida State Senator M. protected, when in reality the amendment also introduced to its members a Earle McGue and Pauline Heffley
($100,000 or more annually) Anonymous William H. Abner
allowing Governor Jeb Bush to issue Mandy Dawson filed language to place limits the constitutional right to privacy completely redesigned Torch, a tabloid Anonymous Jack and Ruth Admire Louis J. Appignani John W. Miles
a "stay" to prevent the removal of a size newsletter that is typically published Frank Brunckhorst Dade Community Foundation Jeanne Baker and Walter G. Bradley Paula Montgomery
feeding tube from Terri Schiavo, a three times a year in April, August and Anne Dahling Gregory A. Baldwin
Silver Circle Saul Glottmann Andy and Marion Barnes Susan Welles Nelson
severely brain-damaged woman who, December. The April and August issues
Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein.
($50,000 to $99,999) Enid C. Gottesman Eileen H. Belcher David E. Newman
the courts found, did not wish to be are four-page editions, while the Glen King Parker Michael E. Berman Rafael Oliver-Vidaud
kept alive artificially. For highlights December issue is usually eight pages. Robert Rauschenberg James D. Brower Bertram B. Parker
Bronze Circle Joe Redner John and Glenda Burkhart Patricia M. Patterson and James M.
on this case and many others from The newsletter, which is distributed to our Bisbee
($25,000 to $49,999) Larry S. and Maria E. Roberts Barry Butin
our legal docket, turn to page 4. members throughout the state, provides Joel S. and Jean Perwin
Lee and Sydelle Blatt Harold Schiffman Patt Derian and Hodding Carter III
supporters with regular docket updates Robert Kerrigan Isobel and Roger Sturgeon Frank H. and Mary Teale Dupuis Michael E. Pheneger
Voting Rights Project and informs the public about upcoming Lewis S. Eidson, Jr. Joseph M. Plunkett
Mr. & Mrs. A. Purkis
Through our Voting Rights ACLU events across the state. Justice Council Constitution Circle Lori G. Emly
($10,000 to $24,999) ($2,500 to $4,999) Lucille and Belvin Friedson
Project, the ACLU of Florida has Anonymous William M. Boyd, II David and Ruth Gorton Paul W. Rebein
spent a considerable amount of time Development & Fund The Busemeyer Atheist Foundation Martin and Nancy Engels Law Firm of Greenberg Traurig Frederic Rolf
Neal A. Roth
this past year working to ensure that Raising Andrew and Shayna Kayton Margaret R. Fuller Howard Greenfield
Trase and Ethel Rowland
all citizens are able to cast their votes Defending First Amendment George Lindemann, Jr. Edwin E. McAmis Robert J. Haiman
Ramon L. and Dorothy Posel Lida Rodriguez-Taseff Marcia Halpern St. Petersburg Times
and have them accurately counted. freedoms, equality, privacy rights, and Julius J. and Helene B. Slazinski Leonard and Annsheila Turkel Glenn W. and Linnea Harrison John Antonio Sandrolini
The ACLU of Florida has been at the fundamental fairness requires constant Earl and Sally Wiener Jeanne M. and Robert F. Westcott Law Firm of Holland & Knight LLP Aaron Schecter
David Winstel Jim Woodfin Jane K. and Norman N. Holland Lewis J. Serbin
forefront of the push to achieve vigilance and support. Each year, Frank Shear
Robert P. Hummer
verified, secure and auditable voting individuals and institutions — including Kenneth Hurley and Roberta S. Nord Steven and Alex Shelton
in counties with touch-screen voting Volunteer Bertrall Ross (left) at the Rights Restoration Advocacy Center, sponsored by the Florida Rights Restoration foundations, unions and corporations — Harry N. Jacobs Louis M. Silber
Photo by Jeff Borg.
machines. In April 2003, we filed a Coalition, reviews paperwork submitted by an applicant at the Miami location. demonstrate their commitment to those Mohsin Jaffer
James J. Jenkins Chesterfield Smith and Jacqueline
"friend-of-the-court" brief in a Palm shared constitutional values through steady Allee-Smith
William H. Jeter, Jr.
Beach County case arguing the only an amendment to the Florida Constitution for the citizens of Florida. gifts and grants to the ACLU Foundation. Ethelene C. Jones and Walter Graves Neal R. Sonnett
way to meaningfully audit electronic on the statewide ballot. The constitutional In addition to these foundation Thomas Julin Lois and Richard Sontag
Anne Strozier and Michael A. Viren
voting machines and conduct amendment, if passed, would remove the Communications grants and private donations, we also Nicholas and Anne Karamessinis
Zia E. Taheri
recounts during close elections is to lifetime voting and civil rights ban The ACLU of Florida is receive funding from court-awarded legal Raymond J. Taseff
Anthony E. and Grace M. Kessel
equip the computers with printers against people with past felonies — a ban responsible for ensuring that the ACLU’s fees and membership dues. In fact, our Stewart and Estelle Kohn J. Holley Taylor
2 that generate voter-verified paper
trails. We believe paper records are
that has been in our state constitution
since 1868 — and restore individuals'
voice in defense of civil liberties is heard
across the state of Florida. One of the
membership base grew significantly in
2003 and we now have more than 22,000
Benedict P. Kuehne and Lynn B. Kislak
Parker D. Thomson
Michael E. Tubbs
University of South Florida Foundation
Carl J. Lacher and Don Meritt
necessary to provide a measure of civil and voting rights after completion of ways we deliver our message to the public members and supporters in Florida. We do Alice M. Lanich Maria D. Vesperi and Jay Sokolovsky
voter confidence, to assess the their sentences. is through the media. By issuing press not receive any government funding. Felix Keith Lathrop E. Landon Walston
Benjamin Waxman and Gwen Wurm
integrity of the data, and to conduct a Local ACLU chapters and releases, coordinating media briefings Annual membership dues are $20 for an Denis W. Loring and Donna Levin
Rosemary B. Wilder
meaningful audit in case of a close or members of the statewide Florida Rights and press conferences, we are able to individual; $30 for a joint membership. Sharon Lutz
Amelia Maguire Mr. & Mrs. Richard B. Wolf
disputed election, especially given Restoration Coalition have organized inform the public in a timely manner Students and others on limited incomes Michael C. Maher Fred P. Wurlitzer
increasing voter unease about reports local working groups to coordinate about pressing civil liberties issues. We may join for $5. Randall C. and Margaret J. Marshall Frederick and Elinor Zwerling
Judge Fredericka Smith and WPLG senior political reporter Michael Putney chat over cocktails at the ACLU Manuel Martinez
Foundation of Florida’s 25th Annual Nelson Poynter Civil Liberties Award Dinner held on May 22 in Coral Gables.
Putney was the master of ceremonies at the event honoring immigrant rights advocate Cheryl Little.
Grassroots Advocacy Across Florida Safe and Free: Fighting Attacks on Civil Liberties
North Central: The chapter spent The anti-terrorism measures When Congress killed the
much of this past year tabling at local adopted by the federal government in Pentagon’s controversial “Total
Photo by Phil Sears/Tallahassee Democrat. Reprinted with permission from NewsCom.
Photo by Jeff Borg.
events. Chapter leaders created a list serve the aftermath of the September 11, Information Awareness” data-mining
through yahoogroups.com to improve 2001 attacks triggered one of the most program in September 2003, the
communication with members. The chapter serious civil liberties crises our nation federal government then turned to
also is reviewing a complaint filed by a has ever seen. Case in point: the 342- Florida for support to create a state-run
local war protester who was arrested on page USA PATRIOT Act, which equivalent called MATRIX. Operated
“obscenity” charges because of a sign transfers sweeping new powers to the by a private company, Seisint Inc. of
featuring a person with his head in the sand, Executive Branch — powers that Boca Raton, the MATRIX surveillance
his rear end in the air, with a flag undermine the Bill of Rights and are system combines information about
protruding, and the words “BUSH The above Gainesville-area war protester was jailed on
unrelated to keeping us safe. Even individuals from government databases
LOYALISTS” and “Question Authority.” “obscenity” charges for displaying this sign. more frightening is the fact that many and private-sector data companies, and
of the measures that were implemented makes that data available for search by
Palm Beach: The revitalized Palm Beach chapter now has active membership, nationally were replicated statewide in government officials.
nominating and legal committees, and has initiated a local newsletter. Along with the the years following the attacks. The ACLU of Florida, with
Urban League, the Palm Beach chapter co-sponsored an “Election Fest” rally for fair In July 2003, the American the help of the National ACLU
elections. Civil Liberties Union filed the first Technology and Liberty Program, filed
legal challenge to the USA PATRIOT a public records request in late 2003 to
Panhandle: Thanks to chapter efforts, the Florida health department recalled Act by taking aim at Section 215 of the find out what information sources the
Former ACLU Miami Chapter President Lida Rodriguez-Taseff, joins Miami Herald columnist Robert Steinbeck
at a televised forum held in October 2003 on the trampling of rights by police officers during the FTAA meetings. religious AIDS education brochures that state health officials were distributing in controversial law, which vastly expands system is drawing on — information
Pensacola and other parts of the state. The pamphlets were loaded with Biblical references the power of FBI agents to secretly program officials have refused to
Brevard: In March, Chapter Vice-President Kevin Aplin participated in a heated and asked readers to “answer Jesus’ call” by reaching out to people with HIV and AIDS. obtain records and personal belongings disclose. As a result, we learned of
debate against State Attorney Norman Wolfinger and the FBI’s Phillip Doucet, who The chapter also hosted a panel discussion on same-sex marriage at the University of of innocent people in the United disturbing new revelations, including
serves as the agency’s Joint Terrorism Task Force Supervisor. The debate centered on West Florida, featuring participants from groups including PFLAG, Holy Cross States, including citizens and the fact that Florida Governor Jeb A protester stands at a busy intersection in Tallahassee holding a sign that expresses his opposition to the USA
the civil liberties implications of the USA PATRIOT Act. More than 250 people Metropolitan Community Church, Coastal Pride and the UWF Gay/Straight Alliance. A permanent residents. The ACLU of Bush has personally taken a lead role PATRIOT Act.
attended the event, which was held in Viera and sponsored by the League of Women chapter-sponsored event on the USA PATRIOT Act was held at city hall featuring Florida embarked on its own public in selling this
Voters. National ACLU Board Member Mike Pheneger, who encouraged people to lobby their education campaign shortly after the intrusive system involvement is participated in dozens of
lawsuit was filed, urging librarians to other states
Broward: The Broward chapter
elected officials to pass a city resolution against the
controversial anti-terror law. Chapter officials also organized statewide to post placards that warn the such as Georgia, “If I thought available on the
community forums in cities across
the state, including Miami,
public about how easy it is for the FBI New York and
kicked the year off with an annual
meeting at the Hollywood Playhouse,
several rights restoration workshops to help former felons
regain their civil and voting rights. to obtain information about a person’s Utah. In January anything we were Florida’s website
Orlando, Ft. Myers, Viera, St.
Augustine, Tampa and Tallahassee,
reading habits. Nearly a dozen public 2003, he even
where several hundred members,
supporters and guests from around the Pinellas: In addition to hosting the ACLU of Florida’s libraries, including several on college gave a personal doing would not www.aclufl.org.
where activists debated
government officials and
and university campuses statewide, briefing on the
county enjoyed The Value of Names, a
play about McCarthyism. Chapter
annual dinner last year, the chapter has been busy tabling at
local events and informing members of the community about participated in the campaign by program to Vice support the grassroots level,
the ACLU of
distributed fact sheets and reports
on the USA PATRIOT Act. At a
posting the ACLU’s Section 215 President Dick
representatives spoke to numerous
community groups, including the
important civil liberties issues. As they do every year, chapter
volunteers staffed ACLU booths at the annual Circus placards throughout their libraries. Cheney, at which troops, or (would) Florida has
embarked on a
community forum hosted by the
ACLU of Florida on September
There have been startling he sought the
Goldcoast Humanists, Temple Beth
Am, League of Women Voters, Friends
McGurkus Festival in October and sponsored an ACLU booth
at a reading festival in St. Petersburg to commemorate developments in recent years in the Vice President’s aid the enemy, I statewide
10, 2003 in Miami, civil liberties
experts and community leaders
areas of government video and data support for
of the Broward Library and Palm Aire
Democratic Club. In addition, the
Banned Book Week in November 2003. The chapter is a
member organization of the Florida Rights Restoration surveillance. Using the justification of additional federal wouldn’t do it.” preserve freedom
by lobbying in
discussed with members of the
community the impact recent
fighting terrorism, the government has funds for the – Michael Pheneger, ACLU National
chapter helped organize rights Coalition, a non-partisan statewide coalition of nearly forty favor of local federal anti-terrorism legislation
been slowly chipping away at privacy program. Board Member and retired Army
restoration workshops and a “Taxation groups campaigning in favor of a constitutional amendment resolutions that and administrative actions have on
rights by collecting massive amounts An colonel who lobbied in support of
Without Representation” rally in April. to automatically restore voting rights for former felons after warn federal Florida communities.
of information on immigrants, foreign ACLU report Tampa’s Pro-Civil Liberties
they’ve completed their sentences. One of the chapter’s most officials about In an effort to reach out to
Broward Chapter members at a “Taxation Without Representation” rally in April. The event was
visitors, as well as American-born detailing Gov. Resolution.
Central: Chair Scott Rost and organized to protest Florida’s voting ban against people with past felony convictions. noteworthy achievements this year came with the passage of some of the most youth and update students on the
Legal Panel Chair Larry Walters have a resolution by the St. Petersburg City Council decrying citizens. Bush’s dangerous government's crackdown on civil
been busy making waves in the local press, commenting on everything from the USA sections of the USA PATRIOT Act as unconstitutional. provisions of the liberties in the tense post-9/11
PATRIOT Act and students’ rights to knowing your rights when stopped by police. USA PATRIOT Act. With the help of climate, the ACLU also organized
Rost also has participated in numerous speaking engagements throughout the year. Sarasota: The chapter, which has grown to include more than 1,300 members, was ACLU leaders, St. Petersburg, Tampa, a nationwide College Freedom
part of a coalition that successfully lobbied in favor of a USA PATRIOT Act resolution Lee County, Sarasota and Broward Tour — the organization's first
Photo by David Eppolito/Miami Hurricane. Reprinted with permission.
Lee County: The chapter joined the Lee County League of Women Voters in that was introduced and passed by the Sarasota City Commission. The chapter also hosted took action in 2003 and early 2004 national effort to reach college-age
taking action against portions of the USA PATRIOT Act that violate fundamental several community events on election reform issues, restoration of voting rights for against the controversial law, bringing youth. The event, which kicked off
rights. Thanks to the lobbying efforts of volunteers, the Lee County Board of County former felons and separation of church and state. the total number of communities in in Miami on September 8, 2003,
Commissioners voted unanimously in November 2003 to send a letter to President Florida to pass pro-civil liberties featured provocative performances
George Bush, Attorney General John Ashcroft and leaders of Congress, voicing their Tampa: Several Tampa ACLU board and active members attended the March for measures to six. (Alachua became the by controversial hip hop duo Dead
concerns and criticism of the controversial anti-terrorism bill. Women’s Lives in April in Washington, D.C. Thanks in-part to the efforts of chapter first county in Florida to adopt an anti- Prez and an outspoken exchange
leaders, the Tampa City Council adopted a resolution against the USA PATRIOT Act in PATRIOT Act resolution on October with publisher Larry Flynt about
Miami: Chapter officials dedicated much time and effort this past fall to working April. The group also hosted several voting rights restoration seminars to assist ex-felons 22, 2002). the importance of preserving First
out an agreement with the city of Miami that allowed protesters to demonstrate regain their civil rights. Aside from lobbying in favor Amendment rights.
outside the Latin Grammy Award ceremonies. Shortly after the FTAA meetings in of anti-USA PATRIOT Act resolutions,
Miami in November, chapter volunteers began investigating reports of police Tallahassee: The chapter hosted a fish fry and workshop to support the restoration ACLU leaders organized and
misconduct. The chapter achieved a significant legal victory with a favorable of civil rights for ex-felons in October 2003, in conjunction with Concerned United
settlement in a lawsuit filed against the federal government and U.S. Customs agents People, a Jefferson County community development organization. The Florida State
for civil rights violations stemming from the wrongful detention of a New York cab University ACLU chapter joined in by initiating a monthly restoration assistance program
Photo by Shoun A. Hill/Orlando Sentinel. Reprinted with permission from NewsCom.
driver who was subjected to a strip-search and X-ray examination after arriving at where law students help individuals seeking the reinstatement of their rights. In December
Miami International Airport. Members joined the Miami-Dade Bill of Rights 2003, the Tallahassee chapter filed a lawsuit against the Department of Juvenile Justice,
Defense Coalition in lobbying county officials to pass a resolution against the USA challenging a policy that requires suspicionless drug testing for all of its employees. The
PATRIOT Act. chapter also thwarted efforts by the Leon County Board of Commissioners to build a 22-
foot-high menorah in front of the Leon County Courthouse.
Jacksonville: In addition to
speaking to dozens of community Treasure Coast: Public education has been the focus of many of the chapter’s
groups, Chapter Chair Ken Hurley has efforts in 2003. Chapter members hosted numerous talks on the USA PATRIOT Act and
been keeping busy hosting a cable free speech, including a well-attended screening and discussion on Ray Bradbury’s
access program dubbed Civil Fahrenheit 451. The chapter sponsored a second movie screening and presentation in
Discourse. The television program runs March on the collateral consequences of using criminal prosecutions and incarceration to
every Thursday on Jacksonville’s Cable stamp out illicit drugs. The event featured a special screening of BUSTED: The Citizen’s
Guide to Surviving Police Encounters about the right and wrong ways to handle different
6 Channel 29. The chapter hosted a town
hall meeting entitled America After 9- police encounters. 3
11: The Media and Our Civil Rights
that featured guest speakers from the Volusia/Flagler: The Volusia/Flagler chapter was awarded its official charter in
press and groups including the Council December 2003. Shortly thereafter, newly-elected officials laid the groundwork to tackle
Ken Connors and Cee Cee Severin perform at the
on American Islamic Relations, the Jacksonville chapter’s “Songs of Protest, Revolution,
important civil liberties issues, including censorship, voting rights and the restoration of
FBI and the University of North and Audacity” fundraiser in June. civil rights for former felons. Numerous neighborhood ACLU discussion groups were
Florida. held in members’ homes in order to register new members. Larry Flynt speaks to students in Miami about the importance of preserving the First Amendment at the ACLU College Former ACLU University of Central Florida Student Group President Rachel Olander, shown at the Orlando City
Freedom Tour, a seven-city, eight-campus tour that kicked off at the University of Miami on September 8, 2003. Hall on October 24, 2003, led a broad coalition of activist groups in a fight against the USA PATRIOT Act.
ACLU of Florida In The Courts Highlights of Our Legal Docket
Ending Florida’s Voting Ban: After years of litigation, the ACLU of Fighting Illegal Searches & Seizures: In a case that serves as yet
Florida achieved a hard-fought victory when an appeals court ruled that the Florida another example of how the ACLU of Florida defends civil liberties for all Floridians
Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein.
Photo by Richard Graulich/Palm Beach Post. Permission from NewsCom.
Department of Corrections (DOC) wasn’t following state law by assisting inmates, regardless of their political points of view, the organization stepped up to protect the
prior to their release from incarceration, with the applications necessary to restore confidentiality of the medical records of conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, who
their civil and voting rights. Florida is one of only seven states that strip people of is the subject of an on-going criminal investigation involving alleged "doctor-
their civil and voting rights following a felony conviction. The prison system is shopping." In a "friend-of-the-court" brief filed with the 4th District Court of Appeal
required, under state law, to help prisoners with the necessary forms to restore their in February, the ACLU argues that the Palm Beach County State Attorney violated
rights. But for nearly ten years, the DOC evaded its legal responsibility and failed to Florida's constitutional right of privacy when he failed to follow well-established
assist nearly 125,000 prisoners in regaining their rights. Now, as a result of litigation, protocol, mandated by law, when confiscating Limbaugh's medical records. On
the state has agreed to restore the rights of approximately 25,000 former felons and November 25, 2003, state law enforcement officials seized Limbaugh’s medical
place public service announcements in statewide media outlets in an attempt to reach records as part of a criminal investigation to determine whether Limbaugh illegally
out to the felons who did not receive assistance. obtained prescriptions for pain medication from several doctors. Although officers
obtained a search warrant to seize Limbaugh’s medical records, the ACLU argues that
a warrant fails to comply with carefully crafted procedural protections required by
state law to preserve the right of privacy that include notice and a hearing to contest
Krutel Joseph, who has a prior felony conviction, receives assistance with an application to restore her the release of the files.
civil rights at ACLU’s Rights Restoration Advocacy Center in Miami — one of four similar centers across
A swarm of reporters rush to obtain comment from Rush Limbaugh’s lawyer following a hearing at the 4th
Photo by Matt May/Getty Images.
Safeguarding Privacy Rights: In a victory for privacy rights, District Court of Appeal. The ACLU filed a “friend-of-the-court” brief with the appeals court in support of
the privacy of medical records.
Pinellas Circuit Court Judge W. Douglas Baird struck down a state law that
authorized Governor Jeb Bush to order the reinsertion of nutrition and hydration
tubes against the wishes of Theresa Schiavo, a severely brain-damaged woman who
has been in a persistent vegetative state since suffering cardiac arrest in 1990. Last
year, when Governor Bush ordered the reinsertion of Schiavo’s feeding tubes
without the consent of her husband and duly appointed guardian, the ACLU of
Florida filed suit to protect the constitutional privacy rights of Floridians to refuse
medical treatment. Baird said the unprecedented move by state politicians “deprives
every individual … of his or her constitutionally guaranteed right to the privacy of
Graphic by Rodney Turner. Reprinted with permission NewsCom.
his or her own medical decisions.” Protecting the Right to Vote: The ACLU filed a “friend-of-the-
court” brief in February, arguing that the touch-screen voting machines used in
15 of Florida's most populous counties lack a reliable method for verifying
ballots in violation of a state law that mandates manual recounts in close
elections. The ACLU’s brief was filed in a case brought by Congressman
At a court hearing on December 23, 2003 in Clearwater, Judge W. Douglas Baird listens to arguments to Robert Wexler against Palm Beach County and Florida election officials for
determine the constitutionality of a law passed by the Florida legislature that allowed Gov. Jeb Bush to
their failure to conduct a manual recount during a special election for District
order the reinsertion of Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube.
91 of the Florida House of Representatives. State law mandates a manual
recount of "over votes" and "under votes" when the margin in an election is
between one-quarter and one-half of a percent of the votes cast. The ACLU of
Preserving Freedom of Speech: In November 2003, a federal judge Florida has argued that while providing for a voter-verified paper trail may not
ordered the city of Miami to refund more than $36,000 in concert security costs be the ultimate answer to ensure the integrity of the voting process, a paper
record is necessary to audit the voting machines, diagnose problems, conduct a
Photo by Al Crespo.
charged during a concert by a controversial band reviled by some in the Cuban exile
community, saying the required payment of city-imposed security fees had a ''chilling recount, and provide a measure of voter confidence, especially given increasing
effect'' on free speech. The Greater Miami Chapter of the ACLU filed a lawsuit in voter unease over stories of voting malfunctions. More recently, the ACLU
2000 on behalf of concert promoter Debbie Ohanian challenging the constitutionality challenged a state rule banning manual recounts on touch-screen voting
of security fees imposed by the city during the 1999 concert by the Cuban band Los machines.
Van Van. The extra security was necessary because the concert attracted thousands of
anti-Castro protestors. The ACLU sought to recover the high security fees, claiming
the city had an obligation to provide security to maintain the public order during the
protests. The lawsuit addressed whether the Miami Police Department was lawfully
entitled to charge Ohanian to provide outside security during the concert, which was
held on October 9, 1999 at the Miami Arena.
“You want to bring an
event that offends one A concertgoer attending the 1999 performance of the Cuban band Los Van Van in Miami gives protesters
the universal salute as he enters the concert at the Miami Arena.
part of the community, Combating Police Misconduct: The ACLU sent letters to city and
police officials demanding that the city of Miami compensate individuals whose civil
you’ve got to be ready to rights were violated by police during last year’s Free Trade Area of the Americas
Photo by Al Crespo.
ministerial meetings in downtown Miami. The demand letters outlined instances of
go to court.” harassment, excessive use of force and the unconstitutional destruction of property.
— Tomas Regalado, Miami City Commissioner One innocent bystander was Bryan Brown, a disabled United States Veteran who was
arrested on November 20, 2003 while riding his bicycle and taking pictures of the
public protests. Although police officers had no basis for seizing Brown’s property and
no need to use force, they repeatedly shocked him with taser guns. Officers then took
Defending Equal Rights for Gays and Lesbians: The ACLU
his bicycle and personal belongings, including a camera that was destroyed by a city
continues its fight against the Florida law that prohibits gay people from adopting.
police officer. He was experiencing an asthma attack and pleaded with the police to
The ACLU brought the lawsuit on behalf of four gay men who would like to adopt in
give him his inhaler, which was in his backpack, but they refused. David Lippman
Florida but are prevented from doing so because of the law, which was enacted in
also was a victim of police misconduct. The freelance reporter, who traveled to Miami
1977 during Anita Bryant’s infamous anti-gay campaign. In July, the Court of
to cover the demonstrations, had his pickup truck towed by police officers and FBI
Appeals for the 11th Circuit upheld the law on a 6-6 vote — a blow in the ACLU's
agents who thought they had seen a “suspicious package.”
on-going fight against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The ACLU
argues that the state has no justification for the ban because it frequently relies on
gay people to be foster parents or legal guardians for children in need of stable
4 homes. In addition, more than one-third of all Florida adoptions are by single people.
Two of the three families represented by the ACLU are raising Florida foster children.
Steven Lofton and his partner Roger Croteau are raising five children, including three
foster children from Florida. Although the Florida children — two 16-year-olds and a
12-year-old — have never known any other family, they cannot be adopted by Lofton
or Croteau because of Florida’s law. Wayne Smith and Dan Skahen have taken in
Plaintiff Doug Houghton, who is challenging Florida’s ban on gay adoptions, has been the legal guardian of many foster children over the years and are now foster parents to six children. Protesters clash with police during the Free Trade Area of the Americas ministerial meetings in downtown
12-year-old Oscar for eight years.
Miami in November 2003.