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Police Misconduct/Prisoner Rights

Introduction

Experience

Philosophy


Employment Discrimination

Introduction

Experience

Philosophy

Experience

Dr. Belcher has counseled many persons with grievances against local police officers in the State of Maryland or the District of Columbia for the purpose of assessing whether these grievances warrant serving a notice of claim with the appropriate governmental agency to protect the complainant’s right to sue and, if this notice is ignored (as almost all notices are) following up by filing a lawsuit against the responsible defendants.

Dr. Belcher filed his first police misconduct case more than ten years ago, when he brought suit in the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County, Maryland, against four white police officers then employed by the Prince George’s County Police Department on behalf of the father of a 15 year-old 130-pound emotionally disturbed black youth who was badly beaten by the officers in retaliation for the youth’s escape from Cheltenham Youth Facility, also known as Boy’s Village of Maryland, a juvenile facility located in Cheltenham, Maryland. After a difficult trial in which each officer testified that he had done nothing wrong, a jury awarded Dr. Belcher’s client over $62,000.00 in damages.

Since that first trial, Dr. Belcher has represented a number of other plaintiffs in police misconduct lawsuits, usually in federal court. While every police misconduct plaintiff represented by Dr. Belcher in a lawsuit filed in federal or state court has either reached a settlement acceptable to the plaintiff or obtained a judgment in his or her favor, prospective claimants should note that in two separate cases, juries awarded a plaintiff represented by Dr. Belcher only a “nominal” monetary award–meaning one dollar–because the jury did not feel that the plaintiff had suffered any serious injuries. Based upon this experience, Dr. Belcher does not recommend filing police misconduct lawsuits unless the plaintiff has suffered a relatively serious physical injury or major economic loss.

Dr. Belcher has also counseled many prisoners who have complaints about the condition of their confinement in state and federal facilities, and he has represented several prisoners in federal lawsuits filed against the District of Columbia and correctional officers employed by the District of Columbia. In 2006, for example, Dr. Belcher settled a prisoner rights case referred to him by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of two plaintiffs who alleged that they were subjected to systematic retaliation from Lorton prison guards because the plaintiffs were filing internal grievances against the guards.

 

 
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