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CIVIL RIGHTS

Civil Rights

At their core, civil rights preserve our ability to enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Civil rights are found in the U.S. Constitution (including the Bill of Rights), the California Constitution, and many federal and state laws. These rights protect our ability to freely participate in various daily and political activities and to ensure we are each treated fairly and have access to justice. If you believe your civil rights have been violated, the Singleton Schreiber McKenzie & Scott Trial Lawyers can help.

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The SSMS team has successfully handled a broad range of cases to protect and enforce the following civil rights:

FIRST AMENDMENT

The First Amendment generally prohibits federal, state, and local government officials (and sometimes private entities that operate like government actors) from infringing on “the freedom of speech, or of the press.” The First Amendment also secures the right to engage in peaceful protests and public gatherings, as well as the right to make a complaint against, and ask for assistance from, the government.

FOURTH AMENDMENT

The Fourth Amendment generally prohibits government officials from conducting unreasonable searches and seizures, illegal detentions, and false arrests. Police brutality, excessive force, and other types of police misconduct fall under this amendment, as do challenges to search warrants and arrest warrants.

FIFTH AMENDMENT

In addition to protecting our right to remain silent in criminal matters and other important rights, the Fifth Amendment requires federal officials to provide due process to individuals, including those who have been arrested or are in federal custody while awaiting trial. Under this amendment, for example, federal officials are not allowed to ignore the serious medical needs of arrestees or pretrial detainees.

EIGHTH AMENDMENT

The Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment of those who have been convicted of a crime. Under this amendment, state and federal officials are prohibited from intentionally injuring a prisoner or ignoring a prisoner’s serious medical needs.

FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT

Like the Fifth Amendment applies to federal officials, the Fourteenth Amendment applies to state officials. This amendment prohibits state actors from denying due process to individuals. A denial of due process under this amendment may include, for example, the denial of medical care for the serious medical needs of individuals who have been arrested but not yet convicted by state officials. This amendment also prohibits state officials from interfering with family relationships by, for example, causing a wrongful death or by wrongfully removing children from the care of their parents.

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Federal & State Laws
In addition to the Bill of Rights, several federal and state laws also protect civil rights. Some examples include:

  • Civil Rights Acts of 1866, 1964, and 1991
  • Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Family and Medical Leave Act
  • California Unruh Civil Rights Act
  • California Bane Act
  • California Labor Code

Most Common Types of Civil Rights Cases
Here at Singleton Schreiber McKenzie & Scott, we represent victims who have experienced all types of civil rights violations. However, the most common ones include:

Discrimination
Federal laws grant you the right to be free from discrimination based on your race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, or family status. California law prohibits discrimination based on these traits, as well as discrimination based on military/veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, and age, among others. If you believe you’ve been discriminated against because of one of these traits, you may be entitled to damages and, in some instances, an order prohibiting the discriminatory conduct.

Police Misconduct
Police officers, like the people they serve and protect, must follow the law. Because we as a society give law-enforcement officers the power to take away liberty and, in some instances, take away life, it is very important to hold bad actors accountable. If you believe you were unlawfully detained or falsely arrested, or if you think you’ve been subject to an unlawful search or seizure, or have been a victim of excessive force or another type of police misconduct, an experienced civil rights attorney can help you seek justice.

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If you suspect you have suffered a civil rights violation, Singleton Schreiber McKenzie & Scott is here to stand up for your rights. Because civil rights claims are often very complex and challenging to prosecute, the firm’s California civil rights lawyers may be an invaluable resource in your search for justice and are available for a free case evaluation today.

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