Kiwanis hear from ACLU director

The Indiana American Civil Liberties Union represents every Hoosier in one form or another said Jane Heneger, executive director. That was the message given Thursday to Crawfordsville Kiwanis Club members. 

“I once had a person tell me they agreed with every case the ACLU was taking on,” Heneger said. “My reply was, if you agree with everything we do, then you don’t know everything we do.”

Heneger said the Indiana ACLU registers nearly 600 civil liberty requests for assistance per month. Complaints range all across the board, however, most of cases the ACLU takes on are not headline worthy.

“Most of the cases the ACLU takes on you never read about them in the newspapers,” Heneger said. “They are rather boring except for the fact they are all issues that deal with the Constitution. Yes, we do have the cases that make headlines, but those are few.”

Heneger said the ACLU is an organization that strives to protect the rights of individuals under the Constitution of the United States. That charge leads to numerous cases being taken to the court system.

“At anytime across the United States we will have 2,000 cases going on,” Heneger said. “We have more cases in the Supreme Court than any other entity in the country. It is important to remember, we only work on constitutional cases and will only sue the government.”

The ACLU also lends its opinion to current issues. Presently, the ACLU is working on opinions related to police body cameras and drones.

Since the ACLU is a nonprofit entity and offers free legal services, Heneger said they often have taken cases that no other law firm would take on since its inception in 1920.

The recent national debate on LBGT issues is presently on the forefront and Heneger said the ACLU is defending civil liberty rights in those types of cases. In fact, the ACLU’s first LBGT case was in 1936.

Recently, the ACLU has found itself in the center of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The director said the ACLU goal is to give the same rights to all people in regards to marriage.

Heneger recalled a recent discussion with a state citizen.

“A minister asked me if he could now be forced to perform a marriage that went against his faith,” Heneger said. “I told him if that ever happened in Indiana, the ACLU would be first in line to take your case.”

Ultimately for Heneger, the reason she works for the ACLU is simple.

“I love the Constitution,” Heneger said. “It is a document that was written so long ago yet still is relevant and used as a model across the world.”

CPD: Fake $20 bills spreading

The Crawfordsville City Police Department has issued a warning regarding counterfeit $20 bills being circulated throughout the community. 

Incidents are on the rise and police want the community to be aware of the problem. 

“The 20s are a little harder to notice as fake because most people only suspect counterfeit bills in larger denominations, like one-hundred dollar bills,” said Detective Sergeant A.J. Rice. “We are asking

everyone to be more observant.”

Rice said the serial numbers are different on each counterfeit bill.

Rice said the fake currency has shown up at local businesses and restaurants. He said there are some similar signs on each fake bill, and he hopes the public will notice.

“The bills do not have a watermark, do not have a security strip and some have uneven edges,” he said. “On some of the bills a shadow can be seen along the bottom edge.”

Rice said this is a statewide trend.

“Several convenience stores are getting caught with

accepting counterfeit $20s,” Rice said. “The people will walk in and buy a smaller priced item and then take back $19 in real currency.”

Police urge anyone who believes he or she has received a counterfeit bill to take it to a local banking institution for inspection. If bank officials believe the currency is counterfeit, then the police department will be notified.

Rice can be contacted at 765-362-3762, ext. 216. 

To date, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office has not fielded any calls related to the counterfeit money.