Media Contact

March 29, 2017


PHOENIX—The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona has elected Dale Baich, the supervising attorney of the Capital Habeas Unit at the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the District of Arizona, to be the new president of its board of directors. His term is for one year and is renewable. Baich joined the ACLU of Arizona board of directors in 2013.

Baich represents people across the country who are under a sentence of death and appears on behalf of his clients in federal courts. In addition to supervising the Capital Habeas Unit, Baich is an adjunct professor of law at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University where he teaches a course on the death penalty. In addition to representing clients and teaching, Baich lectures and writes about issues related to the death penalty for lawyers and general audiences. He is a graduate of Bowling Green State University and the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.

The ACLU of Arizona also added two new members to its board of directors.

Belen Gonzalez has over twenty years of experience working in the philanthropic and non-profit sectors. She is the founder of the Latina Giving Circle, which is part of the Latinos Unidos initiative at the Arizona Community Foundation. The organization focuses on building a multimillion-dollar endowed fund to support Arizona communities, with special emphasis on Latino populations, indefinitely. Gonzalez graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in social work and earned a Master’s degree in social work, with an emphasis on policy and community organizing, from the University of Chicago.

Cassie Ramirez Breneman is a human resources professional based in Tucson. Breneman grew up in Pittsburgh and moved to Tucson in 2004 to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree, in philosophy, from the University of Arizona, which she earned in 2008. Breneman is carrying on a long family tradition of ACLU involvement. Her great-grandfather, Arthur Garfield Hays, was a founding member of the ACLU and became the organization’s general counsel shortly after its creation in 1920. Her grandfather, William J. Butler, was also a noted civil libertarian and defender of international human rights who worked for the ACLU and argued several significant civil liberties cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

In addition to Baich, returning members of the ACLU of Arizona board of directors are Carol Flaherty-Zonis (Vice President), Marie Provine (Secretary), Julie Nierad, (Treasurer), May Lu (General Counsel), Sylvia Lett Canelos (Equity Officer), Leticia de la Vara (National ACLU Board Representative), Alice Brendheim, Laura Dent, Roopali Desai, Fran Dickman, Bo Dul, John Fife, Rivko Knox, Matt Korbeck, Nadia Mustafa, Jessica Pacheco, M. Mujahid Salim, Sarah Sidhwa, and Zenaido Quintana.

Founded in 1959, the ACLU of Arizona is the state’s guardian of liberty, working in courts, legislative bodies, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the U.S. and Arizona Constitutions and laws of the United States and Arizona guarantee everyone.

The ACLU of Arizona has roughly 10,000 members across the state. With a $2.1 million annual operating budget, the ACLU of Arizona employs 15 people including lawyers, community organizers, lobbyists, and fundraisers. The ACLU of Arizona sustains its work through donations from individual members and grants from private foundations.