Legal Help

 

As one of more than 50 local affiliates around the country, the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union handles civil liberties and civil rights matters that happen in the state of New Hampshire. We do not provide assistance outside of New Hampshire. To find the ACLU affiliate in your state, go to the national ACLU website.

As you can see from our website, the NHCLU works on a wide range of issues involving equal treatment for all, fair treatment by government, privacy, and personal freedoms, such as speech, religion, and reproductive choice. These broad categories include discrimination based on race, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or disability, police misconduct, personal privacy, the rights of students and young people, and other civil liberties.

The NHCLU is unable to give you advice about your case or to provide other types of assistance if we do not accept your case. For example; we cannot review your paperwork, conduct legal research or offer a legal opinion about your case. This policy allows us to direct the necessary resources to those cases that we do accept. We are also unable to advise you of the deadlines in your case. To protect your rights, please consult with an attorney promptly to find out what case deadlines apply to you.

We can not guarantee confidentiality over the web or by fax. Therefore, only complaints by mail will be accepted.

The NHCLU accepts requests for assistance that affect the civil liberties of individuals. The basic questions that we must consider are:

  1. Does the case raise a fundamental civil liberties issue?
  2. Does the issue raised affect a substantial number of people?
  3. Is the government involved in the violation of civil liberties?
  4. Do we have the necessary resources to effectively pursue this case?

 

Examples of the civil liberties we seek to protect include:

Freedom of Speech and of the Press

  • A student who is suspended for writing a newspaper article critical of the principal.
  • A police officer who is disciplined for speaking out against police brutality.
  • An organization that is assessed a fee for police protection when it applies for a permit to demonstrate.

Freedom of Religion

  • A student is denied the right to say grace before meals in the cafeteria.
  • A Muslim woman is denied the right to wear religious garb at her workplace.
  • Attendees at a public meeting are forced to stand and recite the Lord’s Prayer.

Privacy

  • The government intercepts your e-mail messages without your consent.
  • Public school students are forced to submit their belongings to drug-sniffing dogs.
  • The police enter and search a home without a warrant even when the residents refuse them entry.

     Equal Protection/Discrimination

  • A sheriff’s department refuses to hire women deputies.
  • A town refuses to permit homeless people to vote because they have no fixed addresses.
  • An election official refuses to permit students or minority residents to register and vote on Election Day.

Due Process

  • A student is suspended from school and denied a hearing.
  • A group is denied a permit to demonstrate by the police and there is no process of appeal.
  • A resident is denied access to material under the state right-to-know law and no appeal is provided.

Generally, NHCLU does NOT accept the following cases:

  • Criminal Cases: in very rare instances the NHCLU may defend an individual criminally prosecuted for engaging in constitutionally protected activities, such as participation in a political demonstration.
  • Divorce, child custody or support cases.
  • Civil disputes between private individuals.
  • Employment disputes including dismissal, workman’s compensation or employment benefits.

To Apply for Legal Assistance

If you would like to apply for legal assistance with the NHCLU, please complete the following online legal intake form. If you have questions about the intake form, please call the office at (603) 225-3080.  Our paper legal intake form can also be found here and mailed to the NHCLU, but we ask that you use our online legal intake form wherever possible so that we can provide a more prompt response.

 

 Edited on September 24, 2013