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Police Misconduct/Prisoner Rights

Introduction

Experience

Philosophy


Employment Discrimination

Introduction

Experience

Philosophy

Philosophy

Plaintiffs who file police misconduct cases can almost always expect to meet fierce opposition from the defendants. Once an officer is sued, his employer will provide free representation either by skilled private counsel who are specialists in police misconduct defense or by attorneys employed full time by the government entity for whom the officer was working at the time of the alleged incident–for example, in Prince George’s County, by lawyers employed by the Prince George’s County Office of Law and, in the District of Columbia, by the Office of the Attorney General (formerly the Office of the Corporation Counsel). These lawyers will do everything in their power to keep a plaintiff from obtaining incriminating information; they will uncover dirt about the plaintiff’s personal background; and they will try to convince the jury that the officer was merely doing a dangerous job to the best of his ability at the time of the alleged incident.

Dr. Belcher has developed a thorough understanding of the substantive and procedural law applicable to police misconduct cases, as well as of typical trial tactics used by defense attorneys in such cases. Due to this understanding, Dr. Belcher has little fear that he will be outgunned by opposing counsel who devote their practice largely or exclusively to defending police misconduct cases.

However, because Dr. Belcher cannot afford to devote many hours to a case that turns out to be non-productive, and because he believes that most clients in the long run do not want to be misled about the merits of their cases, Dr. Belcher normally requires anyone who claims to be a victim of police misconduct to pay a reasonable flat fee–which varies depending upon the complexity of the case–to assess the merits of a given complaint. Ordinarily, where the claimant has not been seriously injured, Dr. Belcher will recommend that the claimant file an internal complaint with the relevant police agency and cooperate fully with an internal investigation. If Dr. Belcher concludes that a lawsuit is merited, Dr. Belcher will prepare a suitable notice of claim as required by law and, if necessary, file a lawsuit in state or federal court on behalf of the victim.

Prisoner rights cases present their own difficulties over and above the problems presented by police misconduct cases. Dr. Belcher generally does not encourage unsolicited correspondence from inmates, but will assess prisoner rights cases referred by existing or former clients or by inmate relatives who are able to meet with Dr. Belcher personally to discuss the circumstances underlying the grievances. If Dr. Belcher concludes that a given case is meritorious, he may agree to represent a plaintiff in a lawsuit against any responsible individuals and entities.

 

 
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