Wyoming ACLU

Miles Bryan

When WPR visited Wyoming American Civil Liberties Union Director Linda Burt at her sunny Cheyenne office she was packing boxes in between phone calls. She didn’t seem like someone who had just found out she was losing her job.

“A guy who used to be on the [ACLU] board just called me to commiserate,” she said. “He suggested I come visit him in Las Vegas, so I could always do that.”

The Wyoming Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is closing permanently, making Wyoming the only state in the nation without an ACLU office.

The ACLU chapter in Wyoming is one of only a few across the country funded entirely by the national organization. It issued a statement saying the organization was cutting seven percent of its total budget, and the closure of the Wyoming office was a result of that “financial realignment”

Emory Maiden via Flickr Creative Commons

Students who identified as racial minorities received a greater number of the state’s out-of-school suspensions in the last school year, according to Wyoming Department of Education data.

credit DJ Lein via Flickr

As military activity in Iraq and Afghanistan has wound down, military armored vehicles have been making their way back home.

Big Horn County and the cities of Cheyenne and Casper have all received heavily armored vehicles designed to protect soldiers from mines and rocket attacks in the Middle East.

“Our new [armored vehicle] can protect us against rifle rounds. Whereas our old [civilian armored vehicle] couldn’t,” says Cheyenne Police Department spokesperson Dan Long.

The number of Wyoming prisoners who asked the ACLU for help with their criminal cases increased between 2012 and 2013, according to a report released today by the ACLU of Wyoming.

The report is compiled from complaints received by inmates in Wyoming prisons and county jails. Last year, requests for legal help accounted for 15 percent of complaints from inmates—more than twice the share of complaints the year prior.

ACLU Staff Attorney Jennifer Horvath says the organization is being called on more due to inadequacies in the public defender system.