Civil Rights and Liberties

CIVIL RIGHTS

The constitutions and laws of the United States and Connecticut protect individuals from being treated unfairly by the government and its agents and also business and organizations open to the public. Many of these laws, collectively called civil rights laws, prohibit forms of discrimination, which is essentially when a member of a particular class of people (could be race, gender, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation) differently because that person is a member of that class. Common civil rights laws include the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Voting Rights Act, Fair Housing Act, Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). People who are discriminated against can sue in state or federal civil court and may also pursue claims with the CHRO (Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities) and other government agencies. 

CIVIL LIBERTIES

The constitutions create limits to government power, from the federal government to local entities. These rights are commonly known as civil liberties. The First Amendment protects speech and expression from government restriction. The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. The Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments establish due process protections. State constitutions, including Connecticut's, offer protections which may be greater than those that exist under federal law. Individuals can enforce their rights and liberties through lawsuits. 

Have your rights or liberties been violated?

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The Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment are the bases for civil rights litigation in the United States and the foundation for many of our laws. 42 U.S.C. 1983 is often used for lawsuits against government actors (police, prison guards, etc.) for deprivations of civil rights. The Fourteenth Amendment also binds state and local governments to the due process requirements of the Constitution. Common civil rights cases include excessive force, illegal searches and seizures property by the government, violation of an individual's right to speak or worship (freedom of religion). Prisoners, like all of us, have a right to not be cruelly or unusually punished, and may seek redress through lawsuits. 

FIRST AMENDMENT AND FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND RELIGION

I am personally interested in First Amendment cases. They include being arrested or otherwise prevented from exercising your rights to free speech and the freedom of religion, which also includes the freedom from religion. Just as the government, businesses and public accommodations cannot discriminate against a person on religious grounds, they cannot discriminate against someone for not being religious or otherwise impose religion upon someone. 

Connecticut Civil Rights Attorney

Christopher DeMatteo rights for his clients' rights under the constitutions of the United States and Connecticut. If your rights have been violated, you may be able to obtain relief in court.