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How to Try Section 1983 Lawsuits Against Police for Fabrication of Evidence in Reports, Affidavits, and Testimony

Total Credits
1.5 - 2
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“Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about the weather.” -- Mark Twain

Twain’s quip could equally apply to the epidemic of police lying swamping the nation. The epidemic taints criminal proceedings, conceals police misconduct, and reduces public respect for law enforcement and Law. Many attorneys have witnessed police telling outrageous whoppers, and few have seen them called to account. False police reports and “testilying” are effectively tolerated in the nation’s criminal courts, with nary a wink or a nod. Thus, the problem only gets worse, and the courts spawn procedural criminality.

A solution is in the hands of civil rights trial lawyers who sue police and municipalities under 42 USC § 1983 for fabrication of evidence. Section 1983 fabrication claims are an under-used avenue of redress for the victims of false arrest, malicious prosecution, loss of employment and reputation due to investigations and prosecutions based on false evidence. Recoverable damages include lost wages, lost earning capacity, criminal defense costs, emotional distress, and punitive damages against individual officers.

The presenter will share strategies for success, including: finding evidence concealed or mis-construed by police; suing private parties for conspiracy with law enforcement and defamation; and, accessing private-party insurance coverage to fund litigation against public agencies. Criminal defense attorneys can benefit as well, because those falsely accused based on fabricated evidence can recover defense costs in a subsequent civil rights action.

Thus, criminal defendants funding their own defense may be encouraged to “stay the course” against an unjust prosecution fueled by fabricated evidence, with the knowledge that once successful, they could recover for some of their injuries in a civil rights claim. The lecture will be presented by an attorney who has handled a federal fabrication of evidence case through pretrial, appeal, and trial after remand. Materials will include forms and authorities for proceeding at key stages of the action. Special Discussion: What’s in the proposed amendments to Section 1983 under the Justice in Policing Act pending in the Senate?

Lecturer Bio

Charles H. Carreon, Esq.

Charles Carreon was born in 1956, reached adolescence during the psychedelic '60s, and married his wife Tara at 18. In 1974, the couple traveled overland to India, traversing Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan by bus, and spent six months in India, studying Buddhism. In 1978, Charles, Tara, and their three children, moved to rural Southern Oregon, where they spent several years working to build a Buddhist community and temple.

In 1983, Charles completed a BA in English at Southern Oregon State College, and the Carreon family moved to LA. In 1986, Charles graduated from UCLA Law and joined the LA office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius as a litigation associate. Two years later, he transitioned into trademark enforcement and product liability defense for an international firm that merged into Ropes & Gray.

Leaving the world of corporate defense, Charles joined Mazursky, Schwartz, and Angelo, an LA plaintiff’s trial powerhouse, where he tried several personal injury cases in the Southern California area during his three years with the firm.

In 1993, Carreon moved back to Oregon, joined the Oregon Bar, and became a Jackson County, Oregon prosecutor. After a year as a prosecutor, Charles became the first Hispanic federal public defender on the Southern Oregon CJA panel, and defended the indigent criminally accused in the District of Oregon for the next six years.

Charles then turned his attention to the recovery of stolen Internet domain names, and in November 2000, successfully recovered the world's most valuable domain name, Sex.Com, that his client subsequently sold for $14,000,000.00.

In 2017, Charles became General Counsel to the Arizona Yagé Assembly (“AYA”), and began a practice dedicated to protecting the Free Exercise rights of Visionary Churches that use controlled substances to achieve visionary states of religious contemplation. Carreon is currently prosecuting litigation against the DEA under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act on behalf of AYA, seeking a judicial exemption from the Controlled Substances Act to protect AYA’s rights of Free Exercise. He has written several articles on the subject of the Constitution and Free Exercise.

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