New York Civil Rights And Criminal Defense Lawyers

Civil Rights

When are warrants required for a police search?

The fourth amendment protects citizens from unlawful search and seizure. This means that government officials and police cannot search your belongings without certain conditions. It is essential to understand how this amendment protects your rights, and what exclusions exist. When are search warrants needed? According to FindLaw, police officers must have a warrant to search your private property in most cases. There are exclusions to this rule, however, such as the following: You consent to the search Criminal evidence is within plain view An emergency requires an immediate search without a...

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What does the law consider excessive force while incarcerated?

A person serving a prison sentence has the right to do so in humane conditions and free from abuse. However, in New York prisons, this is not always the case. Instances of physical force throughout the prison system seem to rise over the years. Excessive force is a term many are familiar with when it comes to police misconduct. It also refers to the unnecessary physical force exerted upon anyone held in a prison or jail. Discover some examples of excessive force and what may result if not stopped. What makes the force appropriate? Controlling the movements and behavior of prisoners and...

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Police officer conduct, civil rights claims and Section 1983

While it is true that law enforcement officers have significant latitude to discharge their duties, they sometimes overstep their authority. Victims of potential law enforcement misconduct may rely on Section 1983, a statute that addresses the protection of their civil rights under the Constitution. About Section 1983 The history of Section 1983 begins in the 19th century. Originally, the statute was part of the Civil Rights Act of 1871, which sought to eliminate oppressive conduct by the Ku Klux Klan and other vigilante groups. It is now included within Title 42 of the United States Code....

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What rights do I have when stopped by the police?

The role of the police is to protect and serve citizens. While many officers take their role seriously, many others do not. Too often law enforcement oversteps their boundaries, which leads to civil rights violations, injuries and loss of life.  As explained by the ACLU, law enforcement must respect your rights in all situations.  When police arrive at your home The police must show a signed warrant with your exact name and address listed before entering your home. It is permissible to ask to see the warrant, as well as officer identification. While you must allow entry when given a signed...

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What is the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act?

In New York, people like you who end up incarcerated within the system are not fully stripped of all rights. While it is true that incarcerated individuals suffer from a loss of many rights, you still have certain protections.  Acts and laws like the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act work toward ensuring that goal. But what do acts like this accomplish? What do they protect?  What does CRIPA protect? The United States Department of Justice lays out the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act, or CRIPA. First and foremost, note that private facilities do not fall under the...

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What are common examples of police misconduct?

As a resident of New York, you have rights that protect you from the misconduct of police officers. But police misconduct covers a wide variety of potential behaviors, actions and situations.  Thus, it is important for you to understand what police misconduct is. This way, if you come across it, you know that you can fight back.  What is police misconduct? The United States Department of Justice defines police misconduct. Situations involving police misconduct also involve allegations of Constitutional violations. In other words, you are claiming an officer broke a law or violated the...

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The problem with mental illness and incarceration

While criminal behavior lacks justification in many people's eyes, mental illness plays a critical role in many crimes in New York. Perpetrators who suffer from ongoing mental trauma and subsequent illness often lack access to needed resources to provide support and healing. Once incarcerated, the issues for mentally ill inmates may only worsen and create a larger problem. Regardless of their prison sentence, inmates have the right to receive help in managing their illness. Dangers of mental illness People suffering from mental illness while incarcerated pose a significant threat to...

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Addressing civil rights violations in prisons

New York City and state prisons have been the subject of significant accusations regarding civil rights violations. While they are serving time as a penalty for criminal actions, prisoners deserve human dignity and respect. These are some of the key initiatives of the Prisoners' Rights Project, a nonprofit advocate of humane prison conditions in New York and worldwide. Access to medical care Prisoners have the right to comprehensive mental and physical health care. New state laws passed in recent years ensure that incarcerated individuals who have HIV will receive the care they need to...

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Disrespecting police may lead to an unlawful arrest

Whether you are attending a rally or simply running errands, you may encounter a member of law enforcement. While being polite may help you avoid a conflict, you have no general legal obligation to respect the police. Still, disrespectful behavior may lead to an unlawful arrest. If you believe an officer has arrested you for simply not being respectful enough, you may have a valid civil rights claim for this type of police misconduct. How respect-related arrests happen Regrettably, there are many new reports about officers making up facts to support arrests. These reports indicate that...

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Racial profiling at stores is common, but can be illegal

Many New Yorkers who are black have probably experienced poor treatment at area retail stores because of stereotypes about their race. While many notorious cases of racial profiling have happened at New York’s priciest stores, it is common at the neighborhood grocery stores, well-known big box stores and other retail establishments. Among black Americans in New York City with middle class incomes, 4 out of 5 of those asked said that they felt stereotyped in some way while they were out shopping. Close to 60% said that they felt like store employees treated them as potential shoplifters by,...

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