Every person in the United States is protected by federal law from having his or her civil rights violated under what is commonly known as Section 1983, of the United States Code. (42 U.S.C. § 1983). Federal law under the Civil Rights Act permits you to sue anyone who violates your constitutional rights, even (or especially) those charged with keeping you safe from harm.
At Barket Epstein, we are dedicated to fighting for your rights whenever you are required to navigate the criminal justice system or have interactions with government agencies. If you live in New York City or on Long Island and you have been treated unfairly by anyone representing the government, we will assist you in suing for compensatory and/or punitive damages. Compensatory damages are designed to reimburse you for medical and rehabilitative costs, while punitive damages are sought to discourage others in positions of authority from committing similar offenses.
What Constitutes a Civil Rights Violation?
According to state and federal laws, many potential behaviors engaged in by various employees or agents of the government may be considered violations of your civil rights. If you are mistreated by employees of any part of the criminal justice system, your civil rights attorney can assist you in obtaining redress. You should have a skilled lawyer bring your case to court if you suffer any of the following:
The most common claim of civil rights violation by the police is false arrest, a violation of the Fourth Amendment right preventing unreasonable seizure.
Unlawful detention or imprisonment
False imprisonment is associated with false arrest. If you are arrested and jailed by the police without probable cause, both false arrest and unlawful detention may have taken place.
Police misconduct is any behavior engaged in by a law enforcement official that violates your civil rights. Civil rights claims are an important part of our legal system, providing a balance between the duty of law enforcement to uphold the laws, and the rights of individuals to be free from police misconduct. Even so, cases against police officers can be difficult to prove. Officers may be immune from suit, even though an individual feels he or she was mistreated. If you feel you’ve been the victim of police misconduct, it is critical that you contact a Civil Rights Attorney promptly so that valuable evidence does not disappear and so that you have appropriate professional assistance in confronting a powerful opponent.
Excessive Force During Arrest and/or Police Brutality
There have been many recent claims of police using excessive force, and some of the incidents have been captured on videotape. These situations often seem to have a racial or ethnic component and have resulted in great public unrest, particularly when the alleged excessive force caused serious injuries or death. In such cases, it is the amount of force used that must be proven in order to assert a civil rights violation, not the opinion or intent of the officer. If you have been mistreated by the police, it is important to have as much evidence as possible, such as photos of any injuries or damage and names and contact information of any witnesses.
Prosecutorial misconduct occurs when a prosecutor abuses his or her position by attempting to sway the jury to wrongly convict you or to impose a sentence that is inappropriately harsh for the crime you have committed.
Illegal Search and Seizure
Laws regarding illegal search and seizure are complicated and at times the boundaries between legal and illegal conduct on the part of the police may be blurred.
Failure to Intervene
You are entitled to be protected by the police, even when you are being victimized by another police officer. If one officer witnesses another police person violating your civil rights and does not intervene, you may be able to make a successful claim against the officer who did not protect you, as well as against the abusive officer.
If you feel you have been treated unjustly by law enforcement or the judicial system, the experienced attorneys at Barket Epstein are available to assist you by vigorously defending your civil rights. Feel free to contact us.