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Civil Rights and Why You Might Require an Attorney

Civil rights is defined as “The United States of America's court-mandated protection from forms of unequal treatment based on race, gender, religion, sex and more.” The major foundation of our country lies within the freedom to choose without influence from the government, so long as our acts fall within the legal ramifications established by our founding fathers and legislators today. However, without the correct skillset, you may find yourself in the middle of a civil rights issue and in need of a civil rights lawyer.

Civil Rights: History

Historically, civil rights referred to the movement in our nation led by African-Americans looking for equal treatment from all other ethnicities, specifically Caucasians. Now in order to comprehend this problem, one should keep in mind the decades of previous enslavement led by white men towards African-Americans. Servants instantly lost their birthrights of freedom and choice upon their forced enlisting into slavery, proclaiming them a piece of property.

Other civil rights movements started to gain traction around the same era, such as the Voting Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Age Discrimination Act. Each movement is better concentrated on customized civil rights within the law. Civil rights stem from government regulations in addition to federal court decisions, referred to as "case law." Famous cases such as Brown v. Board of Education stated problems of bigotry "unconstitutional" after its hearing, and its decision remains today.

Over a decade ago, our country faced an attack from a foreign nation's terrorist company, which cost many men and women their lives and, after some time, caused war in the Middle East. 9/11 triggered new criticism of minorities when New York was struck with several suicide planes in the World Trade Center towers. An eerie justification of discrimination ended up being the norm, so in response, the U.S. Department of Justice put a strategy in place to prevent repercussions against minority communities. An entire website emerged to generate information for preventing and reporting prejudiced repercussions.

A regrettable problem that occurs in current times includes police abuse/brutality toward standard citizens. Most famously, the murder of African-American George Floyd by a Minneapolis law enforcement officer who kneeled on Floyd's neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds. Additionally, another well-known catastrophe occurred in Louisville, Kentucky, when Breonna Taylor, a black medical employee, was fatally shot during a botched raid on her apartment. The law enforcement agents involved wore simple clothes and discharged their firearms without a clear line of vision. These instances set off a nationwide civil rights movement in the United States in an initiative to seek justice for Floyd and his family and all who may feel oppressed around the country.

Police brutality towards people of diverse backgrounds is not a new occurrence, but it reflects a continuation that one may connect with enslaved ancestry. Our modern-day justice system floods jails across the nation with predominantly black males that live troubled lives due to poor opportunities and guidance in their communities. As in any occupation, there remains a group of people with low-grade reputations in the police force, reflecting upon the whole career as a result. A response to injustice exists within our communities and government. Without proper management in legislation and the law, our citizens may face treatment that opposes individual rights and freedoms provided to them as citizens of the country and its states.   

Both states and the federal government pass their own civil rights laws in addition to counties and municipalities therein. Essentially, the further down the statute you proceed, the more personalized your civil rights become. Social dilemmas may trigger an action to consult with a civil rights lawyer that possesses the skills to interpret laws concerning your matter. Allow us to help you today.

Examples of Civil Rights Violated

Civil rights cover a minimal amount of rights protected, and it is essential to distinguish whether you indeed became a victim of a civil rights offense. The following examples may paint a better picture:

  1. You graduate high school with a 4.0 GPA and even better examination scores. You apply to your favorite institution, but the dean of the college declines your application due to your skin color. This may qualify as a violation of your civil rights.
  1. You move out of your parents’ house to get your first apartment. The property manager approves your application and wants to meet you face to face to sign the lease agreement. The property owner asks you about yourself, and you explain you are a practicing Buddhist that needs a quiet place to live. In response, the property manager says he is no longer interested in signing a lease with you since you are not Catholic. This can be certified as a violation of your civil rights.

The following examples can appear to be an infraction of civil rights; however, they may not qualify as such:

  1. You graduate high school with a 4.0 GPA and even better examination scores. Your schoolmate graduates with a 3.9 GPA and even better examination scores as well. You discover that the college you both applied to chose your schoolmate since he comes from a more diverse background. This cannot be certified as a violation of your civil rights.
  1. You move out of your parents’ residence to obtain your first apartment. The property manager accepts your application and wishes to meet you in person to sign the lease agreement. Upon your meeting, the property manager discovers you have a dog that makes him change his mind about signing a lease with you. This cannot be certified as an infraction of your civil rights.

It is essential to distinguish between discrimination that violates one's civil rights and discrimination that simply shows lousy judgement. Unfortunately, some types of discrimination remain perfectly lawful and stand no chance to be heard by a court. The characteristics of an individual or group that adhere to unlawful discrimination involve one's: age, disability, ethnicity, gender, marital status, national origin, race, religion, and sexual orientation. Settings in which discrimination happens matters too. Discrimination in settings prohibited by the government and its states include education, employment, housing, government services and benefits, healthcare services, land use/zoning, lending and credit, public accommodations (access to buildings and businesses), transportation, and voting.

A civil rights infraction involving the use of threat or force as a result of intolerance and hate initiates a case for a hate crime. Hate crimes target people of diverse backgrounds in an attempt to intimidate or injure them simply for their background. Generally, the punishment for those found guilty of hate crimes extends into deeper waters in contrast to an average civil rights violation. In the law, the "motive” and "intent" of a criminal weigh tremendously towards the court’s considerations when determining punishments. To explain further, someone who hurts an individual for no apparent reason may suffer assault or battery charges due to their actions. One who commits violence upon an individual due to their affiliation with a particular ethnic, religious, or other identities can be charged with a hate crime if motive and intent are proven. In some aspects, a hate crime falls within the specifications of terrorism against a particular community, not just one individual. A regrettable barrier of hate crimes is that the intent or motive is more difficult to prove based on the facts. Hate crimes need to be taken seriously due to their prospective dangers. One who commits a violent act and does so with ill intent becomes a very unsafe individual. To battle hate crimes, the FBI produced an internet page on hate crime laws and news. This initiative aims to keep communities informed while protecting future attempts. Information on how to report hate crimes and discrimination, background information, and more are also included.

No matter the situation, any form of discrimination demonstrates lousy behavior in our society. Judgement and prejudice of others must quickly cease for our modern society to succeed, especially since we are composed of individuals from diverse backgrounds. Civil rights started a brand-new era in this country in an effort to stabilize its expanding population from across the globe. Whether a law firm represents you on a legal issue involving civil rights or a good samaritan defends his/her next-door neighbor, the goal continues to be the same—equal treatment for all.

Filing a Civil Rights Legal Action

Submitting a civil rights legal action requires a variety of step-by-step actions in addition to the expertise behind implementing such a procedure. In order to file a civil rights lawsuit, one has to consider who may be responsible for the resulting harm suffered. Civil rights lawsuits may be submitted in federal or state courts relying on the matter at hand. As stated above, some states narrow their defense of civil rights established by federal legislation. For example, one state may concentrate on defending civil rights for LGBTQ+ community members, guaranteeing they receive equal treatment. In addition, your choices of where to file a "complaint" may exist within which area the law applies. Regardless, submitting a complaint starts a review process by the court to determine whether a civil rights offense occurred, in addition to where the concern will be heard.

The goal of a complaint exists within the effort to establish responsibility upon the offenders (who you charge) for committing the violations alleged in your complaint. It can consist of a list of facts, your interpretation of the facts, and the conclusive evidence that strengthens the facts listed. Harm you suffer from the accusations stands as a necessary measure for the courts to consider. It is essential to remember that you must file a claim with the proper government agency for some types of civil rights cases prior to pursuing any private lawsuit.

Submitting a civil rights lawsuit is made possible by an underappreciated right called "Due Process" supplied to us by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. The right to Due Process certifies the government cannot remove the legal rights to life, liberty, or property without a formal hearing. Due to this Due Process right, Congress and state legislatures have developed complaint processes designed to help you enforce your civil rights.

Hiring a Civil Rights Attorney

Employing a lawyer can feel like a drastic measure for any matter; however, it maximizes one's chances of success in the law and recovering damages. Without legal representatives, our community members can be taken advantage of without knowing their choices for protection provided by this great country. Unfortunately, some situations require legal aid in order to receive equal treatment in one example and set the tone to fend off future instances in another. 

Civil rights issues within the law prove to trigger severe problems within the step-by-step process and community process. Challenging issues consist of whether to file in state court or federal court, how to file a "complaint," whether the violation involved a protected right, which laws apply to the scenario at hand, and whether you must first file a claim with the government. To appropriately navigate these issues, it remains crucial to seek consultation from an experienced civil rights attorney.

Why the Cochran Firm 

The attorneys at The Cochran Firm are among the nation’s most successful and tenacious attorneys. When navigating through the legal process, you deserve to have an experienced attorney by your side. The Cochran Firm attorneys know how to fight for you.

Here at The Cochran Firm, our experienced attorneys are ready to help families who are pursuing a civil rights claim. Our attorneys work closely with each of our clients using pooled resources and their access to legal expertise to ensure the most effective legal representation available is provided.

You need the help of an experienced civil rights lawyer who has proven successful results in other similar cases to guide you through the process and help you to receive the monetary damages entitled to you under the law. At The Cochran Firm, we have the offices, the experience, the results, and the resources to aid clients throughout the United States. 

Please contact the civil rights attorneys at The Cochran Firm today for your free, no-obligation initial consultation today.

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