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


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About This Course

“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?

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