Ashland attorney receives ACLU award

The American Civil Liberties Union of the National Capital Area has chosen Ashland attorney Ralph Temple as this year's recipient of the Alan and Adrienne Barth Award for exemplary volunteer service.

The Award will be presented at the ACLU-NCA's Bill of Rights awards luncheon on Tuesday, March 18, at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington D.C.

The Barth award recognizes "bold, trailblazing and trend-setting efforts."

Temple's selection means that the staff and board of the ACLU-NCA believe that, through his oustanding volunteer efforts, he has reflected the spirit of Alan and Adrienne Barth.

Alan Barth was a founder of the ACLU-NCA, a prolific author, a editorial writer for the Washington Post for 30 years, a national leader in the fight against McCarthyism and an advocate for expanding civil rights and liberties. One of his major goals was the elimination of the death penalty. Adrienne Barth was an ACLU activist in her own right, a regular weekly legal intake volunteer for decades. In February 2004, the board voted to rename the Alan Barth Service Award, presented since 1980, to honor both Alan and Adrienne.

Ralph Temple served on the ACLU-NCA Board from 1964 to 1966, and 1984 to 1988 and served on the National ACLU Board of Directors from 1982 to 1985. He was the legal director of the ACLU-NCA from 1966 to 1980 and performed the dual role of executive director in 1979. Since 2005, Ralph has been a member of the Boards of Directors of the ACLU of Oregon and its Southern Oregon Chapter.

"Ralph personifies the virtues that the ACLU displays at its best: a fierce commitment to civil liberty, imagination, energy, skill and industry, integrity, persuasiveness and a fine blend of irascibility, good humor and anger," said Aryeh Neier, the former executive director of the ACLU.

Temple's volunteer services to the ACLU-NCA are numerous.

Following the April 2000 Washington D.C. police mass arrests of World Trade protesters, Temple prepared a series of memoranda presenting a strategy for challenging mass arrests, based on ACLU-NCA's 1960s and 1970s victories against the mass arrests of anti-Vietnam War protesters.

In 2003, Temple prepared a series of memoranda presenting a strategy for challenging new restrictions on White House area demonstrations, imposed by the U.S. Secret Service following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Temple also worked with ACLU-NCA staff and a team of volunteer lawyers to prepare a lawsuit against the Secret Service. The restrictions were withdrawn in 2004 before the lawsuit was filed.

In December 2003, Temple wrote the ACLU-NCA's report, "The Policing of Demonstrations in the Nation's Capital: A Misconception of Mission And A Failure of Leadership." On, his report was presented to the District of Columbia Council along with Ralph's one-and-a-half hours of testimony as a special witness, contributing to the Council's enactment of the Police Standards Act of 2004, the nation's most profound legislation restricting police conduct during mass demonstrations.

In addition to his volunteer activities for the ACLU-NCA, Ralph's activities with the Oregon ACLU have included helping to initiate a federal lawsuit challenging the Secret-Service-prompted disruption of an anti-Bush demonstration in Jacksonville in 2004. He successfully lobbyed for Ashland's adoption of community policing, a reformed Taser policy, a policy recognizing the constitutional right to panhandle and community participation in the selection of a new police chief.

Temple has also been instrumental in the Oregon ACLU's initiation of a program to monitor and seek out civil liberties violations in southern Oregon's five largest cities.

"What a master of the law he is! I know people whom I regard as great teachers, as great trial advocates, as great appellate advocates, as great lobbyists, as great negotiators. Ralph is all those things and does each of them better than anyone I know," said Monroe Freedman, a former National ACLU board member. "He has an absolutely extraordinary record, not just of effort, but of accomplishment."

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