The Legal Program receives between 20 and 40 written complaints per month. Most of the complaints we receive do not fall within our mission either because they do not involve constitutional issues or do not involve system-wide reform issues. Some of the types of cases we do NOT handle are:
- Employment law: being fired from a job without a good reason or just cause
- Workers’ Compensation: being denied benefits, such as workers’ compensation or unemployment benefits;
- Criminal cases: complaints about private criminal defense attorneys, length of sentence, or probation and parole issues. We consider accepting criminal cases only in limited instance
- Family Law: divorces, child custody
- Landlord-tenant disputes
Please read this information carefully to find out the kinds of cases we accept and how to have the ACLU consider your problem.
The mission of the ACLU of Kentucky is to defend, preserve, and advance civil liberties in Kentucky. If your issue did not arise in Kentucky, you should contact the ACLU office in that area. To find the address for the appropriate affiliate, please go to the National ACLU website at www.aclu.org and click on About to find a link to a listing of Local Affiliates.
How to file
If your issue did arise in Kentucky, to file a complaint with the ACLU of Kentucky, you must fill out our complaint form and send it to our legal staff in Louisville. Fill out our printable form at the bottom of this page and mail it to the address at the top of the form. Walk-ins are not seen – you will be asked to fill out our complaint form.
Our legal staff will review your complaint to determine whether it raises an issue that we can address. You will be sent a letter indicating if the legal staff accepts, declines, or decides to investigate your complaint further. You may be asked for additional information. The ACLU of Kentucky receives several hundred complaints each year, so it may take 6-8 weeks to receive a response letter from us. If you need immediate help, please contact an attorney.
You may send your completed form to us at:
ACLU of Kentucky Legal Intake
315 Guthrie Street, Suite 300
Louisville, KY 40202
What Does It Cost?
Attorneys represent ACLU clients free of charge. Our cases are handled by staff counsel, sometimes working together with attorneys in private practice who volunteer their time for ACLU cases.
How Do We Choose Cases?
The ACLU of Kentucky generally files cases that affect the civil liberties or civil rights of large numbers of people, rather than those involving a dispute between individual parties. Almost all of our cases involve constitutional issues and because the United States Constitution and Kentucky Constitution protect only against unlawful government action, we rarely take on disputes involving private companies. The basic questions we ask when reviewing a potential case are: (1) Is this a significant civil liberties or civil rights issue? (2) What effect will this case have on people in addition to our client? (3) Do we have the necessary resources to take this case?
Why the ACLU Turns Down Cases Which Fall Within Our Guidelines
There are many cases of unfairness and injustice that the ACLU is simply unable to handle. We receive several hundred requests for help each year. Because the ACLU of Kentucky has a limited budget and staff, it is impossible to represent every person whose civil liberties have been violated. Instead, we try to select cases that will impact the greatest number of people — those cases that have the most potential to break new ground or establish new precedents to strengthen the freedoms all of us enjoy.
Can the ACLU Advise Me About My Case?
If we do not accept your case, the ACLU is unable to give you advice about your case, answer questions, or provide other types of assistance – for example, reviewing papers or conducting legal research to assist you. This policy allows us to direct the necessary resources to those cases we do accept.