What Types of Cases Are Filed Under Violation of Civil Rights?
The kind of case you are filing under violation of civil rights really depends upon what happened in your case. If you are arrested for something that you didn’t do and there was no probable cause to believe that you committed a crime and then the case gets dismissed at arraignment, you are only filing a false arrest case because you were arrested. The damage was caused by the arrest, not necessarily the prosecution. If, however, on the other hand, you were prosecuted for years and years and you will simultaneously file both a false arrest and malicious prosecution and that there was evidence of withholding of evidence or that the police tampered with the evidence or fabricated the evidence or said things happened which didn’t happen, you can also file a due process claim violation based upon the police either fabricating evidence or failing to disclose evidence that undermined the integrity of the criminal case that was being presented.
Another example is that If you are subjected to force or beaten when you shouldn’t have been beaten, you only file an excessive force case. Where you file this case depends on a number of factors. You can file a federal case in state court certainly for the unjust conviction cases. These cases involve claims that the person was subjected to excessive force during the course of an arrest or was subjected to force when there was no justification for force being used.
For the unjust conviction by itself, you can always file that case in the court of the claim. If you were unlawfully convicted of a crime and your conviction was vacated and you spent time in prison for a crime that you didn’t commit, then you would simultaneously file a 8(b) claim in the New York State court of claims. New York has an unjust conviction statute where the State compensates people who were wrongfully convicted of crimes and their convictions have been vacated or overturned.
If there was evidence that the police did something wrong or the police engaged in misconduct which led to the conviction, then simultaneously you would file a malicious prosecution or due process case in either federal court or under New York State Supreme Court. The decision of whether you’re going to file in the state court or Supreme Court is a delicate balance of a lot of different factors that our New York City civil rights lawyers will analyze. Typically, one is the statute of limitations. You have to file a Notice of Claim within 90 days of when the cause of action accrues. Even if you were falsely arrested, the cause of action accrues on the date of the actual arrest. If you had a case where you were arrested and then your prosecution basically set up for five years, you couldn’t bring a false arrest case because the statute of limitations have run. However, for malicious prosecution and for the unjust conviction claims, the cause of action starts to run when your conviction was vacated or when you were found not guilty or when you were actually acquitted. You can have a malicious prosecution case even though the statute of limitations has run on the state case. Under the state law, you have to file a Notice of Claim within 90 days when the cause of action accrued. For the false arrest, you have to file a Notice of Claim within 90 days of when you were actually arrested. For a malicious prosecution case, under New York State law, you have to file a Notice of Claim within 90 days of when you are acquitted. However, under federal law, the statute of limitation is three years and there is no Notice of Claim requirement.
If you were arrested two years ago, for example, it would probably make sense to just file in federal court or file a federal court cause of action potentially in the state court. Certainly, with the unjust conviction statute, the unjust conviction cases under New York State law can only be filed in the court of claims.
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