Rhode Island Affiliate, American Civil Liberties Union


Due Process
Court Cases Over the Years

The Right to Administrative Due Process

While the right to due process is most often associated with criminal defendants, it also ensures that government agencies and municipalities proceed fairly when dealing with citizens in their day-to-day dealings with the bureaucracy. Below are some Affiliate cases that have addressed the right to administrative due process over the years:

1982: City of Providence v. Beckman

Successful challenge in Municipal Court to ordinance allowing for tripling of unpaid parking fines prior to a hearing at which the fines could be contested.

1983: Malagrino v. Miceli

Successful federal lawsuit brought on behalf of a member of Westerly Planning Board who was summarily removed by the Town Council without a hearing.

1986: LaTour v. Amaral

Lawsuit challenging a state commission’s procedures for valuating motor vehicles for tax purposes; favorably settled.

1987: Donahue and Lawson v. Dept. of MHRH

Favorably settled federal court challenge to procedures used by state in authorizing the emergency commitment of alcoholics.

1990: City of Pawtucket v. Gugel

Successful lawsuit challenging a Municipal Court practice of requiring defendants to pay the overtime costs of the police officer who testified in the case.

1995: Deery v. Fandetti

Favorably settled lawsuit challenging DCYF’s failure to schedule timely administrative appeals of people charged with child abuse or neglect.

1996: Fullen v. Ferguson

Federal lawsuit against Department of Human Services which, in an attempt to recoup child support money more quickly, falsely threatened to take legal action against parents who were in compliance with court-ordered payments toward child support arrearages.

1997: Malave v. Ferguson

Successful class-action lawsuit challenging the adequacy of notices sent out by the state to certain welfare recipients subject to a newly-imposed monthly reduction in benefits.

1998: Gray v. Registry of Motor Vehicles

Successful appeal on behalf of a person arbitrarily denied a chauffeur’s license based on a 14-year-old fainting incident.

2000: Doeg v. Ferguson

Class-action suit challenging the Department of Human Services’ procedures in conducting food stamp fraud hearings.

2000: State v. Rivera

Obtained the return of $860 seized by the state from the defendant, who had been falsely charged with drug dealing. The state had initially argued that, notwithstanding the false arrest, the money had been lawfully forfeited.

2002: Nestell v. State of Rhode Island

Favorably settled federal lawsuit challenging the DMV’s summary denial of a chauffeur’s license based solely on the person’s past criminal record.

2005: R.I. ACLU v. Najarian

Favorably settled lawsuit challenging the Division of Motor Vehicles’ failure to formally adopt any rules and regulations governing the issuance of drivers’ licenses

2007: Drug and Alcohol Treatment Associate of Rhode Island v. Tavares

Favorably settled lawsuit challenging the legality of state regulations that authorized the denial of compensation to violent crime victims based solely on their having an unrelated drug-related criminal history or DUI conviction.

2009: Spruill v. Alexander

Successful federal lawsuit challenging the state’s failure to process food stamp applications in a timely manner.

2010: Carbone v. State of Rhode Island

Favorably settled lawsuit contesting DMV procedures in suspending the licenses and registrations of thousands of motorists due to alleged unpaid fines that went back decades.

2011: Boyer v. Jeremiah

Class-action lawsuit charging that the state’s truancy court system is devoid of basic due process protections, and that school districts unlawfully refer students to the court.

See Other Highlighted Due Process Cases:

Return to: Recent Due Process Cases

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