The Origin of the Civil Liberties Monitoring Project


Law Enforcement Descends on Humboldt Homesteads

Low flying Army helicopters roared over homestead gardens, machine guns and men in battle fatigues bristled out open doors.

Federal, state and local police had joined to stage militarized cannabis raids for the press in Southern Humboldt to announce the national Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP).


The Community Organizes

At the advice of attorneys Ron Sinoway and Mel Pearston, local peace and anti-nuclear activists of the ACORN alliance led the community to found a nonprofit to take legal action on behalf of citizens. In 1983, the Civil Liberties Monitoring Project (CLMP) was born. 


Citizens Observers

CLMP advised homesteaders on how to behave during a raid and began training teams of observers in nonviolence and consensus. These teams became the Citizens Observation Groups (COG), dispatched by telephone trees, CB and KERG radio, to follow police to witness and record officers’ conduct during raids.


The Lawsuit

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORM), the Civil Liberties Monitoring Project (CLMP) and ten residents of Northern California brought a class action suit against state and federal officials and agencies involved in California’s Campaign Against Marijuana Planting.  

Evidence collected by CLMP convinced federal judge Robert P. Aquilar to halt CAMP and appoint a monitor, the first of its kind since the Civil Rights era, among other constraints.