Handling Civil Rights Violations And 1983 Actions

At the law office of Mitchell & Shapiro LLP in Atlanta, Georgia, we are aggressive in our pursuit of justice on behalf of clients whose civil rights have been violated. Our lawyers have years of legal experience that they put to work when taking action against law enforcement officials or other parties who are responsible for the illegal violation of your civil rights. For more information, please see the below areas of civil rights law in which we concentrate, or contact our firm to schedule a consultation.

1983 Actions

Non-consensual interactions with the criminal justice system are often unpleasant. This is inherent to the process of being arrested or detained by law enforcement, being convicted or serving a prison sentence, but many are thrown into this system illegally or through no fault of their own. Police officers have difficult jobs, and sometimes law enforcement makes mistakes (often due to inadequate training and lax oversight). The majority of unpleasant interactions with the law do not amount to a constitutional violation, but where officers violate the law, abuse their power, or ignore the rights of the people they sworn to protect, they must be held accountable.

Fortunately, there are ways to maximize public safety by holding law enforcement responsible for their bad acts. In 1871, Congress passed a provision in the Civil Rights Act that aimed to help limit mistreatment of black individuals in the south who faced various forms of discrimination.

Section 1983 under Title 42 of the U.S. Code was designed to address the cruelties of the Ku Klux Klan, and sought to enforce the 14th Amendment that said that states were not allowed to make or enforce laws that would infringe on rights a person has under the U.S. Constitution. Unfortunately, discrimination is not exclusively a 19th Century problem, and it affects various protected classes, including black people, other nonwhites, and those in the LGBT community. These persons may suffer direct mistreatment from law enforcement officials because of their protected status, or they may simply be the victim of indifference as inmates do the abusing, and the law turns a blind eye, failing to protect them.

Combating Police Misconduct

42 U.S.C. § 1983 not only provides a remedy against discrimination, but it also allows plaintiffs to sue for violations of their constitutional rights and rights protected under federal law. There are a number of ways that police misconduct can violate a suspect's rights - common claims are false arrest, malicious prosecution, excessive force, denial of medical care in custody, failing to intervene (for example if partner is too rough), and failing to provide criminal defendants with exculpatory evidence. However proving a case can be challenging because civil rights plaintiffs generally need to satisfy a more rigorous burden when suing law enforcement when compared to private parties. Additionally, officers and government is often entitled to overlapping immunities under state and federal law, which can prevent a jury from ever hearing your case. A good civil rights law attorney can untangle these immunities and help set the record straight.

Fighting Indifference

Indifference, whether it is before a conviction or after, occurs in many ways. A person in jail or prison might be ignored as they ask for medical treatment, or a guard may ignore abuse that they face at the hand of another person in jail. People might also be put in unsanitary or dangerous conditions where they are confined and no effort is made to improve those conditions. All of these are examples of indifference, and they violate freedoms that are protected under the Constitution.

When these injustices occur before a conviction, the 14th Amendment offers the protection. Those already convicted are protected by the Eighth Amendment. In either case, a good civil rights law attorney can often help to see that their client feels as safe as possible.

Get The Civil Rights Representation You Need

If you are being mistreated by law enforcement or by the prison system, you have rights to protect you. Contact a civil rights attorney at Mitchell & Shapiro LLP today to help you stand up for these rights. Call us at 404-997-8972 or 404-997-8972, or contact us online now.