Know Your Rights… Just in Time for the Mifflin Street Party in Madison

17 Apr

The American Civil Liberties Union Student Alliance – UW will host a timely “Know Your Rights Workshop” on Wednesday, April 22 from 7:00 – 9:00 pm (check Today in the Union (TITU) for location).

The workshop will be led by Madison criminal defense attorney Erik Guenther of Hurley, Burish, and Stanton Law Firm and a volunteer attorney for the ACLU of Wisconsin.

“I conduct Know Your Rights Workshops regularly on college campuses around the state,” said Guenther. “It is important to me as an attorney to share my legal knowledge with college students who may not know what their constitutional rights are when they find themselves in precarious situations with police officers.”

The workshop will take place ten days prior to the annual Mifflin Street Block party, scheduled for Saturday, May 2. The Mifflin Street Block Party has consistently resulted in many arrests of students and community members. In 2008, 438 attendees were arrested, 383 cited and released, and 51 sent to the Dane County Jail.

“The Mifflin Street Block Party is a well-known haven for arrests and it is important for students to know their Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights when dealing with Madison Police,” said Guenther.

Event sponsor ACLUSA-UW aims to be a campus and community civil rights educator.

“The ‘Know Your Rights Workshops’ are just a small, but important sample of the work we do on-campus and in the Madison community,” said ACLUSA-UW president and senior Tracy Fleischman. “Most people are unaware of the extent and details of their civil liberties, so we want to change that.”

During Freakfest, Madison’s annual Halloween block party occurring on State Street, members of the ACLUSA-UW handed out “bust” cards to attendees, meant to serve as a reference for party-goers in the event that they are arrested.

“The cards got a very positive response among those attending Freakfest and far fewer arrests occurred than in past years,” Fleischman said. The number of arrests dropped considerably from 2007’s Freakfest, with only 77 arrested, compared to 181 in 2007, 235 in 2006, and 566 in 2005.

Check UW-Madison’s Today in the Union (TITU) on Wednesday April 22nd for the exact location of the event.

For additional information on the “Know Your Rights” workshop and the ACLUSA-UW, contact Steve Horn at or (262) 705-5856.

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