Sub-Series — Multiple Containers
Most files begin with a complaint; either a letter or a staff notation about a phone call or personal visit. Some files lack this material - probably has been lost. The next piece of prevalent material is the ACLU's response. If the union does not wish to be involved, a form letter was sent. This letter either stated the Union's belief that there wasn't a constitutional issue involved and referred the individual to an attorney or legal aid bureau who would assist them in their legal difficulties or the letter just "wished them luck in the future." If the Union was interested, either a letter stating the claim would be discussed at an up-coming lawyer committee meeting was mailed or a letter expressing the need for more information, personal visitation was used. A few files contain an "Acceptance of the Case" letter (primarily the larger folders). The files do contain the staff's work papers: notes about the factual circumstances; lists of case cites, the precedential value of specific cases and the Union's proposed arguments invoking them. There is also correspondence from cooperating attorneys, other branches of the ACLU as well as the national office and interested attorneys and scholars. The cases which were accepted contain large amounts of legal materials: affidavits, summons, motions for discovery, summary judgements, right of appeal, extension of time, amendment of earlier filed papers, power of attorney and status, complaints, amended complaints, cross/counter complaints, answers, court opinions (official and draft forms), memos on legal arguments, verbatim records of hearings. The major cases have within their files newspaper and magazine articles. These either deal with the specific case or involve the area in which the case lies. There are photographs concerning cases involving improper police action, undue physical force, or search techniques. Other evidentiary materials are diagrams , copies of the complainant personal notifications (i.e. copies of a speeding ticket, summons to appear at a hearing, letter from a company denying insurance, termination of employment form) and the actual material upon which the claim is based (e.g. application for a loan which asks about a prior police record).
Terms of Access and Use
Pursuant to University Archives Restricted Records Policy, access to portions of this collection is RESTRICTED until January, 2050.
From the Collection: 41 record cartons (41 record cartons.)
- From the Collection: American Civil Liberties Union (Organization)
- From the Collection: Niagara Frontier Chapter, American Civil Liberties Union (Organization)