Criminal endangerment charges dropped against pregnant woman


The judge made the right call in the case of a pregnant Ravalli County woman charged with criminal endangerment for after testing positive for drugs. District Judge Jeffrey Langton threw out the charge this week, saying it had no basis in law. “In order to construe the criminal endangerment offense to include a fetus as a […]

Activist prosecutor and judges place women at risk


The same prosecutor who charged a Ravalli County woman with criminal endangerment for using drugs while pregnant, succeeded one week earlier in preventing her from going to drug treatment because it would interfere with his trial schedule. Ravalli County Deputy Attorney Thorin Geist charged 21-year-old Casey Allen with criminal endangerment, on August 27, for putting […]

First woman graduates from Corrections Boot Camp

LaVohn Ellsworth web

 As family and friends looked on, Montana correctional boot camp graduates thanked their instructors and family for helping them to understand how they hurt their victims and to build skills and awareness to never do it again. But for 33-year-old LaVohn Ellsworth, there was another important thank you: “Thank you ACLU and ACLU attorneys. Without […]

War comes home: Police militarization


It’s 2 a.m. and suddenly masked men are crashing through your front door with a battering ram, pointing guns at you and your family and shouting orders as they tear through your home, destroying property in their search for drugs. To incapacitate you, they threw a flash grenade through your bedroom window. Your children are […]

Religious Freedom is not a license to discriminate

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Claiming a religious right to discriminate is nothing new. Once upon a time it was used to justify racial discrimination. Most recently we’ve been seeing the cry of “religious freedom” being used by businesses that don’t want to provide contraception to their employees and don’t want to serve or employ gay, lesbian and transgender people. […]

It’s not over, Billings

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We are not giving up on a nondiscrimination ordinance to protect the Billings LGBT community from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. Please join us at one or both of the events below to help make the ordinance a reality for Billings. Fairness for All Families Rally Saturday, June 7 1-3 p.m. St. Andrew […]

“Not in Our Town.” Not now

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What a shame. Rather than tackle the serious issue of discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Billings, city leaders punted the ball this week and tabled plans to consider a nondiscrimination ordinance. To add insult to injury, some used the reasoning that there is no discrimination in Billings. “The city of Billings does not […]

Free speech in the Flathead

Signs displayed in a yard during the 2008 election

Flathead County Commissioners are considering amending their zoning code to remove time and date limitations on the display of political yard signs. We think this is a great move that will bring the county into constitutional compliance by protecting the free speech of county residents. Current zoning regulations allow political signs of up to 32 […]

Leaving a legacy in Montana and across the nation

Ninia Baehr

Ninia Baehr has made quite an impact on civil liberties in Montana and across the nation. She now serves as deputy director of the ACLU of Montana, and 25 years ago as lead plaintiff the Hawaiian same-sex marriage case that set off a movement culminating last year in Hawaii becoming the 16th state to legalize […]

Montana librarians stand up for freedom, privacy

MLA logo

Montana librarians have long promoted intellectual freedom, and they continued the tradition last week at their annual conference in Billings. The Montana Library Association passed a resolution condemning federal spying and calling for change in that program. The group also honored the Billings Public School District for its response to a challenge to Sherman Alexie’s […]