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If you’re in California and have had your civil rights violated, you may be wondering what a civil rights lawyer can do for you. Here’s everything you need to know about what we do as attorneys that fight for your civil rights and how our work can help you get the justice and compensation you may be entitled to.
What is a “civil rights” lawyer and how are they relevant to you?
Civil rights are legally protected rights that are grounded in the United States Constitution, federal laws, and state laws. These rights can come in many different forms such as the right to an education, the right to free speech, religious freedoms, police protection and police accountability.
In California, there is police-specific civil rights legislation that covers, for example, false arrests, malicious prosecutions and police brutality. For example, California residents are protected from police misconduct by sections 1983 Civil Rights Act and Section 845.6 of the Government Code. Both of these laws allow a person who has suffered police wrongdoing to sue individual police officers or departments for compensation or injunctive relief from police misconduct or abuse. All citizens should make sure they understand their civil rights and keep informed about how they apply to them so they don’t become victims of police misconduct.
What do civil rights lawyers do and why are they important
So what is a civil rights lawyer? Well, for example, Greg Kirakosian is a civil rights lawyer who passionately advocates for customers and clients, seeking to defend fair treatment in civil rights matters. He and many of his colleagues work hard to protect the integrity of customers’ individual rights and freedoms.
Civil rights lawyers are especially important because they help ensure that those who have their civil liberties violated can seek justice; customers from all walks of life depend on them. From protections against discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, race and religion, to consumer protection laws, civil rights lawyers are pivotal in establishing fair play within our society.
This can encompass dealing with law enforcement as well as private companies and places of employment. The term “civic” is defined as “of or relating to a citizen, a city, citizenship, or civil affairs.” Examples of civil rights include the right to vote, the right to a fair trial, the right to government services, the right to public education, and the right to use public facilities. You are without a doubt affected by not only the existence of these rights but, also, by the defense of said rights.
The different types of cases that civil rights lawyers handle
Civil rights lawyers specialize in protecting the legal civil rights of individuals, from defending against unlawful discrimination to enforcement of constitutional guarantees. These attorneys can investigate and handle cases involving First Amendment civil rights such as freedom of speech or religion; Fourth Amendment civil rights like unreasonable searches; Fifth Amendment civil rights which covers due process; and Fourteenth Amendment civil rights that involve equal protection under the law.
In addition, they may handle whistleblowing cases, Title VII claims concerning sexual harassment, religious discrimination, invasions of privacy violations, and other state and federal statutory violations. They may also handle redistricting challenges– maps need to be drawn in a way that best reflects the community being served– as well as voting rights challenges, oppression cases based on gender or race inequality, police misconduct issues, and equal education opportunities cases. Civil rights attorneys have the difficult yet critically important job of protecting citizens’ constitutional rights. The work done by our law firm and colleagues is unparalleled in terms of impact and significance when it comes to the everyday lives of people all over the country.
What would life be like without Civil Rights attorneys?
A world without civil rights lawyers would be bleak and oppressive. In countries where a culture of human rights is not present, civil rights lawyers are often targeted and silenced, leaving the majority of people to suffer abuses in ignorance. Without these dedicated law professionals to challenge the injustices inflicted by governments and powerful organizations, those without the necessary privilege would remain unprotected and unable to obtain justice.
Civil rights lawyers act as crucial advocates for fairness and justice in all aspects of life – from family law violations to employment discrimination – through their work, they uphold the spirit of civil rights statutes so that each individual is given autonomy in obtaining legal representation. Their presence keeps society on course with dual values of legal orderliness and compassionate care for its members. With the loss of civil rights lawyers, a vital check balance would be eliminated from society’s infrastructure, exposing many to serious human rights violations. Thus we must continue to recognize the integral role that civil rights lawyers play in keeping our communities safe and secure.
Example of a civil rights case in California
California has a long history of civil rights cases; including those dealing with one of the state’s largest law enforcement agencies, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). In one high-profile case, the Anthony Soderberg Estate case, LAPD SWAT officers shot and killed Anthony Soderberg in 2004. His estate was represented by attorney Greg Kirakosian in a wrongful death suit which was ultimately successful, resulting in an award of nearly one million dollars after years of litigation.
The outcome of this important case established that Los Angeles citizens have protections against police violence even when it occurs during “special operations”. In fact, it’s the first time LAPD SWAT used a helicopter sniper to fire on a person. Initial “internal” investigations resulted in zero blame for all officials involved. Were it left up to them, nothing would have come from Anthony’s death.
Thanks to Greg Kirakosian and his colleagues, that was not the end of the investigations dealing with his death. It’s especially important to note that this case was referenced later in a whistleblower case that defined the LAPD SWAT police unit as a “mafia.” Civil rights attorneys work together even when they are working on separate cases as one person’s rights being defended can result in many others benefiting from it. This is just one example among many that demonstrates California’s commitment to upholding civil rights.
The challenges and rewards of being a civil rights lawyer
Civil rights lawyers play an invaluable role within the law system. Without them, individuals who may not have the resources to fight for their rights could easily be overlooked and oppressed. As a civil rights lawyer, you have the opportunity to challenge unjust laws and stand up for those who cannot defend themselves. It is a demanding job requiring dedication, selflessness, and determination, but it is also incredibly rewarding and affords the potential for great impact.
At its core, civil rights law is about fighting for justice and making sure that everyone has equal access to their full human rights. Understanding what civil rights are and how they apply can help empower you to use your voice when advocating for yourself or others in situations where those rights are being violated.
Working with a civil rights lawyer
The best part about working with a civil rights attorney is that many work on a contingency basis or pro bono in certain cases. Contingency means that they only get paid if you do – so there’s no risk in presenting your case or filing it. It’s also a great way to know whether or not you have a case in the first place. Most civil rights lawyers offer free consultations and will take your case if they strongly believe you have one.
Pro bono means, essentially, without charge. There are many resources on the internet that can help you find attorneys who will work for no fee. That being said, considering the complexity of what a civil rights case can entail, you want to ensure you find the right lawyer to represent you.