The law in the United States of America provides each person with certain rights and privileges that help guarantee their safety, their freedom, and an equal opportunity for prosperity. Regrettably, certain organizations or persons within them violate these legal rights every day in our country. This is where attorneys step in to help. The national civil rights attorneys at Strom Law Firm have strong notions of fairness and justice. The attorneys also share a common desire to help make our society better through equality and to make our law enforcement and corrections legal systems safer for all citizens. This is accomplished, in part, by highlighting and seeking punishment for legal misconduct when it occurs so that changes can be made that will prevent it from happening again. If your civil rights have been violated, a lawyer at Strom Law Firm will handle your case to be sure legal justice is done.
What Does a Civil Rights Lawyer Do in Legal Cases?
A civil rights attorney acts as an advocate for individual clients whose civil rights have been violated, whether they are U.S. citizens or immigrants living in the country. An attorney is familiar with the liberties and protections that are granted to individuals by our Constitution, and they can be involved in both civil and criminal trials arising out of conduct that violates a person’s legal rights.
Some examples of civil rights violations include:
- Police brutality
- Use of excessive force
- Sexual assault
- Hate crimes
- Deliberate indifference to serious medical needs
- Cruel and unusual punishment
- Illegal searches and seizures
- Human trafficking
- Whistleblower cases
When are Civil Rights Violated by Law Enforcement?
In recent years, our lawyers at Strom Law Firm have has had great success in litigating excessive force and other police misconduct cases. Our team of lawyers has worked on some very high profile civil rights and litigation cases, which are often highlighted in the media by Bakari Sellers, civil rights lawyer, political figure, CNN commentator, and member of Strom Law Firm. If you have been the victim of excessive force or police misconduct of any kind in South Carolina or anywhere in the nation, it is critical to have an experienced civil rights team of lawyers on your side with the resources to fully pursue your legal case. For a free initial consultation with a seasoned civil rights lawyer, please contact us today.
Have you or someone you know been the victim of an unjustified police shooting? The attorneys at Strom Law Firm have great admiration and respect for the law enforcement community. Our founder, Pete Strom, is from a law enforcement family in South Carolina. However, we are aware that certain actors within that esteemed community can be guilty of improperly exceeding their authority and/or covering for the malpractice of someone else in their organization. Frequently, when a police officer shoots someone without legal justification, the police department falsely accuses the victim of having done something to provoke the shooting. This can happen both in the investigation phase and in media reports made by law enforcement agencies. At times, their investigators attempt to sway public opinion and defeat efforts toward reasonable reform. Our seasoned civil rights lawyers with journalism backgrounds can help you and your family successfully navigate the early litigation phase of your civil rights case with skill. These cases can be extremely difficult to win. But our police shooting attorneys are willing to put in the extraordinary time and effort required to handle and win your case.
Police officers commit misconduct and malpractice when they use excessive force during an arrest. Excessive force is the use of more force than is reasonably necessary to arrest a person suspected of committing a legal crime. Examples of excessive force can include physical force like hitting, kicking, or kneeling on a suspect already in custody and not resisting. It also includes the usage of a weapon against a suspect who is not armed and who the officers have no reason to suspect is armed. This can include the use of a gun, or weapons referred to by law enforcement as “less lethal” like tasers, inhalants, and projectile weapons. The use of excessive force can make any arrest unreasonable. This can violate the victim’s Fourth Amendment rights. Police are only allowed to use as much force as is reasonably necessary to make the arrest. This determination can vary depending on the facts of your legal case. The civil rights attorneys at Strom Law Firm can evaluate your litigation under the law and fight for your civil rights if they have been violated.
Police officers are supposed to enforce our laws in order to protect the innocent and keep our streets safe. Unfortunately, they can be just as susceptible to making mistakes as any other citizens. If you have been unlawfully arrested or falsely accused, you cannot afford to be without a knowledgeable civil rights attorney. Civil rights cases are difficult to win and unlawful arrest cases are no exception. At Strom Law Firm, our civil rights attorneys have the experience and skill to help you if you have been the victim of a police shooting, excessive force, or false arrest. We have brought numerous cases in South Carolina, as well as around the country, including North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Virginia, Washington D.C., and many more. While these cases can be very difficult and take hundreds, even thousands, of attorney hours, we commit for the long haul and have what it takes to fight for justice and fair treatment in your unlawful arrest or police misconduct case.
When are a Prisoner’s Personal Civil Rights Violated?
Death or Serious Injury in Custody
The Supreme Court has said that the Eighth Amendment, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment, protects convicted prisoners from being subjected to a serious risk of harm by prison officials who are deliberately indifferent to their safety. The Fourteenth Amendment similarly protects pretrial inmates from being subjected to punishment while they await trial. Frequently, prisoners whose rights were violated in prison or jail lose their lives as a result of accidents, injuries, and disability that occurs from mistreatment. And correctional officials often refuse to give families information about a loved one who has died in custody, making it even more difficult to get answers about the abuse, disabilities, or injury.
Even if correctional staff did not directly cause your loved one’s death, they may still be liable for failing to protect your loved one from abuse caused by an accident or injury, themselves, or someone else. The Supreme Court has recognized that in detention and correctional facilities, officials have a duty to protect prisoners from violence and injuries at the hands of other prisoners. If a correctional officer, nurse, or doctor knew that your loved one was at risk of being harmed by another and failed to act, he or she could be liable for the personal injuries or abuse that occurred.
Our success is based in large part on our tireless efforts to pursue justice on behalf of our clients and provide them the best outcome possible. Our lawyers are intimately familiar with the ways that prisons and jails react to deaths in custody, including efforts by some to conceal their wrongdoing. We use this knowledge, along with our expertise in litigating prisoners’ rights, to help defeat the challenges that prisoners’ families face in trying to uncover the truth and obtain justice.
Denial of Medical Care
The Supreme Court has also recognized that the Constitution requires prison officials to provide adequate medical care and treatment for injuries to prisoners in their custody. Deliberate indifference to serious medical needs is an actionable constitutional violation. As our prisons and jails have become seriously overpopulated, prisoners are increasingly denied the medical and mental health treatment they need for their injury, disability, or medical condition. Moreover, many jails and prisons have outsourced their medical and mental health care responsibilities to private corporations. These businesses are motivated to provide as little care as possible under their contracts in order to make more profit, which can often result in malpractice, contamination, or defective treatment.
At Strom Law Firm, we can bring cases alleging delay or denial of medical care under the Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution. We take on cases involving death and serious injury due to inadequate medical care. Our attorneys think that prison and jail staff, including the privatized health care staff to which they delegate that duty through contracts, should take their constitutional obligation to provide medical care seriously, and we work hard to ensure fair treatment and justice in situations where those obligations were ignored. Some of these contractors have had thousands of legal cases filed against them. Have you or a loved one been injured by deliberate indifference to serious medical needs by Correct Care Solutions (CCS), also known as Wellpath? Contact the team of experienced civil rights attorneys at Strom Law Firm today to discuss your legal case.
Excessive Force in Jail and Prison Jails and Prisons
All prisoners, whether serving a sentence of incarceration or those held in jail pending trial, have a right to be free from excessive force by prison and jail staff. Unfortunately, many prisoners fall victim to violence perpetrated by correctional personnel. Recently, the Supreme Court found that when force is used against pretrial detainees held in jail pending trial, juries should consider only whether the force used was objectively appropriate, regardless of the intentions of the correctional staff. Our firm has represented prisoners (or their families) who were victims of excessive force in prison or jail, including both individual clients and classes of prisoners subjecting to a pattern of abuse. These cases, like all prisoners’ rights cases, are difficult to win. But we have extensive experience helping each client and skills litigating excessive force cases, and we work hard to obtain justice for all of our clients.
Failure to Protect Legal Civil Rights
The Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments require prison staff to refrain from abusing the men and women in their care. But these amendments also require prison staff to protect these men and women from personal injury attacks by other prisoners, or even from themselves. That is because when prison officials take someone into their custody, they take away their ability to protect themselves or seek outside aid. What this means is that if prison or jail staff know that you or your loved one faces a serious risk of substantial harm and fail to take action to protect against that harm, they may be liable for the personal harm suffered. The most common example of failure to protect occurs when prisoners are attacked by other prisoners or when personal injury accidents occur. We have successfully brought countless claims for incidents like these. We recently settled a case on behalf of numerous clients killed or injured in the highly-publicized riots at Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville, South Carolina in 2018 where various safety measures were breached. With such extensive experience, our lawyers can successfully handle your litigation and personal injury settlement.