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Bail and Pretrial Release in Federal Cases

What is Bail or Pretrial Release? After a person is arrested, he or she is detained and held in jail. Pretrial release, or bail, is the release of the individual until the resolution of the underlying case.  Detention Hearings A detention hearing may happen very quickly after arrest, even as soon as the defendant’s initial […]

Overview of Federal Drug Crimes

Drug offenses can be prosecuted at either the state or federal level. Drug crimes may be prosecuted at the federal level if they involve activity across state lines or have some sort of interstate (multi-state) impact. The federal system is much more complex than state criminal justice systems. Generally, prosecutors at the federal level are […]

Overview of a Federal Prosecution

This blog provides a broad overview of the progress of a federal prosecution. Of course, there are several factors that may determine how quickly a case moves and/or if/when a case will reach a particular point in the general process (i.e. early pleas, multiple motions to review detention orders, pre-trial motions, etc.). Initial Hearing/Arraignment Felony […]

Damages in Section 1983 Claims

As discussed in prior blogs, Section 1983 is the most often used vehicle to bring civil rights claims against government officials. Section 1983 allows an individual to bring a claim for money damages against government officials who violate their constitutional rights. Assuming the plaintiff is able to overcome all the hurdles required to get their […]

Qualified Immunity and “Clearly Established” Rights

State and local government officials can be sued for money damages in their individual capacity if they violate a person’s constitutional rights. 42 U.S.C. § 1983 provides the statutory vehicle for suing state actors acting under the color of state law. When an official acting under the color of federal law is involved, a plaintiff […]

Overview of Section 1983 Civil Rights Litigation

Introduction Over the last few days, I have had several people ask me to explain Section 1983 lawsuits.  “Section 1983” refers to 42 U.S.C. Section 1983, which provides an individual the right to sue state government employees for civil rights/constitutional violations. Many of these cases involve violations of rights such as the Fourth Amendment (unreasonable […]