False Arrest and Malicious Prosecution

WE POLICE THE POLICE! Every state and the federal government have separate and equally applicable Constitutions providing many liberties, privileges, immunities, and rights. These liberties, privileges, immunities, and rights apply to all its citizens and persons physically present there. The tantamount civil rights provided by these constitutions include protections from unjust searches, seizures, equal protection, due process, and malicious prosecution.

False arrest means the police detain someone without probable cause. Probable cause defines a practical, not technical concept, dealing with probabilities and likelihoods, involving daily life where reasonable persons act. A false imprisonment claim directly stems from a false arrest. Every day a person remains in prison because due to a false arrest increases the harm suffered. Malicious prosecution civil rights violations happen when police recommend charging a person for reasons other the interests of  justice.

No Two Civil Rights Cases Are the Same, Find Out The Value For Yours

The most unique characteristic about civil rights cases centers upon the difference between each matter. Simply stated, few successfully litigated cases, arise from the millions of yearly stops, arrests, and prosecutions, can for a Plaintiff. In criminal court, the standard for guilt and liability, remains proof beyond a reasonable doubt, an extremely high standard. Whereas, for civil rights violations, the proof standard in a preponderance of the evidence. While, federal courts have different proof standards for civil rights matters, the crucial question remains did probable cause exist? If probable cause existed to arrest, or prosecute someone, no civil rights claim exists. When police have probable cause to arrest someone, although charges may later be dismissed, no cognizable civil rights violation exists.

Excessive force regards when a police officer uses more force than necessary to subdue a person. Excessive force claims can arise from police shooting unarmed persons, to police punching or roughly handling someone, to many other circumstances both with and without weapons. Failing to intervene pertains to when multiple officers attempt to physically control a person. If one or more officers begin utilizing excessive force towards the individual, than the others must stop them. Further, when the police department or the governmental agency overseeing them have notice about an officer’s prior conduct, action must occur. If a police department does not curtail an officer’s conduct and responsibilities, they and the municipality could be liable for failing to train and supervise.

If You Were Wrongly Arrested Your Time to File a Claim is Limited

The circumstances for each case, determines which if any civil rights claims will be allowed to be brought in court. The statute of limitations for all the claims is two years from the incident date. This means for excessive force, false arrest, false imprisonment, failing to intervene, and failure to train/supervise, the statute of limitations would be 2 years after the arrest. For malicious prosecution the statute of limitations time calculations differ. These differ as this claim only arises after a court favorably terminates a person’s case. Most persons cases terminate a substantial time after their arrests.

In many states including New Jersey, Illinois, in order for a person to sue a governmental entity such as a city or the police department notice must be provided within a specified time period. Usually within 90 days from the date of the injury, a Plaintiff in writing must send a notice letter to the agency informing them about the intention to sue. Many lawsuits include both state and federal claims and, the state claims will get forever barred should these notice requirements not be complied with.

Go With An Experienced, Hard Fighting, Successful Civil Rights Law Firm

Our law firm has a long and open record, supporting law enforcement, when we determine these officers acted properly and complied with all legal regulations, even for disfavored and unpopular cases. Yet, while appreciating the service the police provide, when officers knowingly, purposefully, willfully, and/or grossly negligently violate citizens’ civil rights we aggressively pursue our clients’ claims in court. As with all professions, both good and bad police officers exist, we strive to  accurately sift them for every case. To date, we have successfully litigated cases against both police departments and other government agencies and won hundreds of thousands of dollars for our clients.

We represent civil rights Plaintiffs all across the country. Some cities where we practice include Camden, Trenton, NewarkPittsburgh, Scranton, Baltimore, St. Louis, Kansas City,  Chicago, Miami, Washington D.C., Denver, Los Angeles, New York City, Seattle, Texas, Atlanta. We strive to bring justice to those harmed by rogue and uncontrolled police officers. We also fight to uncover and prevent internal affairs departments from summarily dismissing inappropriate officer conduct.

Free Speech

Free speech includes more than just words. Courts consider expressive conduct as a type of speech for First Amendment purposes. For instance, messages on t-shirts or bumper stickers, gestures, physical motions and actions all comprise forms of speech. So is dancing, and even erotic dancing may be considered a form of expression and therefore a type of protected speech. Many symbolic acts, such as flag burning, are also protected forms of speech, since they are intended to convey a certain message. Flag burning creates much emotion and controversy, proving a powerful form of speech. Therefore, courts consider flag burning worthy of constitutional free speech protections.

With the political climate in 2019, free speech, threats, incitement, collusion, storytelling, fake news, parodies, and the like elevate to powerful positions never before seen. Currently, all sides began  assaulting free speech rights to fit their views and goals. Criminal liability can evolve from otherwise seemingly innocuous statements made by someone. Social Media, especially Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter present novel questions about what constitutes harassment, stalking, offensive conduct, and free speech. This often leaves law enforcement agents confused as to how to correctly respond.

 

While courts may consider many words and physical acts “protected speech” not all communications obtain guaranteed protection from governmental interference. The U.S. Supreme Court identified several speech categories not protected, meaning, the government can make laws outlawing these communications. Penalties for violating prohibited speech law include fines, arrest, probation, judgments, community service, and in some cases imprisonment. Types of speech which are not protected include but are not limited to: defamation, obscenity, national security, and fighting words, inciting panic/riots. Defamation refers to both libel (published false statement) and slander (spoken fake comment) and is broadly defined as actions damaging the good reputation of another person.

Depending on the speech type, the government may make regulations, such as placing reasonable time, place, or manner restrictions. Requiring large assembly permits before marching, or prohibiting using sound trucks in certain neighborhoods, demonstrate acceptable restrictions. Unreasonable restrictions, or regulations especially those selectively applied against certain groups or beliefs, remain open for redress in court. The guarantees of free speech are protection against government action and intrusion. This includes laws, regulations, and ordinances at all levels of government, including federal, state and municipal. All state and the federal constitution exempt from protection all actions by non-governmental actors.  Society considers free speech a bedrock right, yet, unfortunately, governmental officials consistently misapply the law, or simply desire silencing dissent.

Further, government employees, including federal, state and local government workers, possess civil rights, immunities, and liberties guaranteed respectively by the United States, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Illinois Constitutions. Civil rights violations committed against government employees often come in the forms of harassment, retaliation, and wrongful discharge. Civil rights violations against state and municipal employees also include demotions, failures to promote, suspensions, and other adverse employment actions. Employers in government agencies take action against employees who legally express their rights because those opinions contradict the unit’s beliefs.

If someone has threatened your First Amendment rights, we very likely can successfully handle the case. on your behalf. In doing so, we would not turn anyone away because their speech is unpopular or something we personally did not agree with. Free speech’s central tenet remains expressing ideas, unpopular with the majority, a belief everyone at Cornerstone strongly subscribe to. No Constitutional need exists to protect speech everyone likes. Buffers exist precisely to protect the communications which challenge popular beliefs and push people outside their normal comfort zones.

Student Free Speech

The U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment guarantees free speech for public and private school students. The 2011, U.S. Supreme Court in Brown, reaffirmed minors First Amendment Rights in a decision, holding a California law restricting kids’ access to violent video games violated the First Amendment. Nevertheless, the Court made clear students do not enjoy the full extent of First Amendment rights adults do. In several decisions, the Court balanced student’s free speech rights against official’s legitimate needs. Courts wanted to ensure officials could maintain for all students a safe, functional, and productive educational environment. After all, schools differ from public squares where people come and go at will and generally may, speak freely. Schools possess a particular mission—educating students—and the First Amendment allows instituting policies and rules promoting this, even at the cost of a reasonable limitation on student expression.

The Supreme Court’s bars schools from interfering with a student’s free speech rights, except via limited circumstances. These circumstances include the expression if: 1) “materially and substantially disrupts school environment”, 2) lewd, 3) misrepresents school endorsements, or 4) promotes illegal drugs. While the previous list regarding unprotected expression for students remains non-exhaustive, it highlights the most common types. The definition and descriptions for lewd materials in regards to minors varies greatly than when done for adults. School officials inherently maintain wide discretion in banning these speech types.

If Someone Tries to Censor Your Speech Contact Us

Our seasoned attorneys have many years experience protecting and vigorously advocating for our client’s interests and rights. Governmental agencies and departments often attempt to stifle and suppress negative attention drawn towards their direction.

 

If you have been the victim of censorship or prior restraint, if you have been arrested for engaging in a public demonstration or other protected political activity, either in your private life, work environment, and/or at school or if you have been punished in any way for speaking your mind, contact our attorneys for a free consultation about your situation and possible remedies.

 

Cornerstone Legal Group, LLC

At Cornerstone Legal Group, 2nd Best Is Not an Option. Our experienced attorneys passionately advocate on all our clients’ behalf to ensure they get justice and fair compensation. We have been operating since 2011 and take cases on nationwide. While Cornerstone Legal Group’s flagship office is located in Philadelphia, our attorneys, and partners work around the country. We operate in many cities including Chicago, New York City, Newark, Baltimore, San Antonio, Denver, and Miami assisting our clients. Our primary practice areas include civil rights, real estate development, criminal defense. In criminal defense alone, our firm successfully defended clients charged with gun and weapons offenses, sex crimes, drug and narcotic offenses, DUI/DWI, and Parole and Probation Violations. In criminal and civil courts, both state and federal, our firm won numerous jury trials, appeals, and recovered hundreds of thousands of dollars advocating for our clients rights.

Cornerstone Legal Group nurtures our partnerships with the community. We take on challenging cases  impacting our society in diverse and progressive ways. We handle cases which make a difference not only for the people involved but for our entire community. The potential to create meaningful change through the legal process and obtain justice for clients motivates our attorneys, more than winning awards. We approach each case with tenacity and remain dedicated to serving our clients through difficult legal battles. Supervising Attorney D. Wesley Cornish, Esquire, sits as a member on the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Civil Rights Pro Bono Panel. Since our founding, we dedicated thousands of hours, to handling pro bono cases for indigent persons nationwide.

Hard Work + Personal Customer Service = Reliable Consistent Results

Everyone at Cornerstone Legal Group, prides ourselves on working with each client individually to achieve the best outcomes, in timely manner. We place people and relationships above all else, and strive to ensure fulfillment for each client’s needs. Unlike other law firms we will keep you informed and updated about your case. Contact Us 24/7 and you can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Prisoner Rights and 8th Amendment Violations

Prisoner Rights and 8th Amendment Violations

Prisoner rights and 8th Amendment violations, civil rights litigation are very complex legal concentrations, encompassing numerous overlapping federal and state constitutional rights, rules, privileges, liberties, and immunities, and more rules regarding procedures than most other legal areas. Almost all prisoner rights litigation regarding housing conditions such as overcrowding, medical malpractice, and denial of medical care, are generally covered by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”). While the PLRA contains many rules about getting standing, necessary to bring a civil rights claim in federal district court, related to Constitutional rights violations and infringements, it, and being knowledgeable about this procedural step can be the difference between success and failure in litigation. Furthermore, 8th Amendment prisoner rights claims arising from housing conditions, require not only the timeliness, specificity, but also exhaustion of administrative remedies.

Furthermore, our firm has experience investigating, developing, filing, and litigating prisoner rights and 8th Amendment violation, housing condition civil rights lawsuits. Likewise, Supervising Attorney David Wesley Cornish, Esquire, is a member of the pro bono civil rights panel for the Pennsylvania Eastern District Federal Court. In addition to all federal district courts in Pennsylvania, which include Scranton, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh, we vigorously defend our clients prisoner rights and 8th Amendment claims in federal courts located in Texas, North Dakota, Illinois, Colorado, Florida, New Yorkthe District of Columbia, and New Jersey.  

Prisoner Rights and 8th Amendment violation cases we handle include, but are certainly not limited to: 
  • Overcrowding and other unsafe physical/housing conditions 
  • Overcharging for Phone Calls and Commissary materials
  • Denial of Regular Mail and/or Legal Mail
  • Prison Guard Brutality
  • Medical Care Treatment Refusals (mental and physical)
  • Denial of Access to bilingual materials
  • No educational programs for general population prisoners or for developmentally disabled inmates
  • Handicap/Physical Disability Discrimination
  • Denial of Kosher and/or Diabetic Meals

 

 

Do you know your rights? 

All prison inmates have basic rights

If you or a family  member is facing incarceration, you need to know your rights. Free Speech Prisoners do not have free speech rights granted under the First Amendment.  Prison officials many punish inmates who cause unrest within the facility.  It is not uncommon for prison officials to censor available reading materials. Privacy Prisoners do not have the right...