Civil Rights Litigation

LAW JD 877

This course is about civil and criminal enforcement of constitutional rights and other federal rights against government officials. The primary focus is on civil rights litigation in federal courts against state officials under the civil rights statutes passed in the wake of the civil war, including 42 U.S.C. ? ?1983, 1981, 1982 and 1985 on the civil side and 18, U.S.C. ?? 242 and 249 on the criminal side. The criminal segment of the course will be taught by an Assistant United States Attorney in charge of the Public Corruption and Special Prosecutions Unit and the Civil Rights Enforcement Team in the District of Massachusetts. Criminal issues include prosecutions of police officers for violating the civil rights of arrestees and hate crimes. On the civil side, we will examine the rights that give rise to civil rights action and, to a lesser extent, the scope of those rights. The kinds of cases include police brutality, unlawful searches and seizures and discrimination in government jobs. The issues that arise include many statutory questions, such as identification of proper parties to 1983 actions, and judge-make defenses, such as official and state immunities from damages actions and injunctive suits. We will also look at federalism and eleventh amendment limitations on congressional power and federal court remedial power in 1983 actions, although coverage of these issues will not be as thorough as in Federal Courts. The standards for holding local governments liable for damages will also be examined. Our major foray into the substance of constitutional rights will be with regard to the role of state remedies and defendant's state of mind for fourteenth amendment procedural due process violations. We will also look at substantive constitutional rights such as police brutality, medical care for prisoners and detainees, high speed police chases and other similar areas. There will also be some coverage of remedies against federal officials directly under the constitution and remedies against private individuals for civil rights violations. OFFERING PATTERN: This class is not offered every year. Students are advised to take this into account when planning their long-term schedule.

FALL 2023 Schedule

Section Instructor Location Schedule Notes
A1 Beermann LAW 413 TR 4:20 pm-6:20 pm Stamped Approval

Note that this information may change at any time. Please visit the Student Link for the most up-to-date course information.