Areas of Practice

Civil Rights

Attorneys at People’s Law Office are among the most experienced civil rights lawyers in Chicago and have great success in lawsuits against police and other law enforcement officials who violate people’s rights.

Police Brutality

We have decades of experience obtaining money damages for people who have been subjected to excessive force by police and other government officials. Our cases include victims who have been beaten, struck, punched, kicked, thrown to the ground, pepper sprayed, Tasered, tortured, or subjected to other brutal treatment. To read about our work and successes in these cases, visit our page: Lawyers Fighting Against Police Brutality.

False Arrest

For more than forty years we have successfully represented hundreds of clients in civil rights lawsuits against police officers for unlawful and false arrests. For example, lawyers from our office represented the seven year old boy falsely accused of the murder of Ryan Harris, resulting in a multi-million dollar settlement. If you have been arrested or detained when the police did not have probable cause, you may be entitled to receive money damages.

Wrongful Convictions

A lot of people are convicted and locked up, sometimes for years, for crimes they did not commit. While we can never replace the precious years wrongly convicted people have lost, we can help secure compensation for this injustice. Over the years, our lawyers have obtained millions of dollars in recoveries in civil rights lawsuits on behalf of our clients who were wrongfully convicted. To find out more about our successes in these cases, visit our Wrongful Conviction page.

Police Shootings

We have been involved in numerous police brutality cases where officers have shot unarmed citizens, many times leading to the victim’s death. Our first civil rights case, the 1969 assassinations of Black Panther Party leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark, settled in 1983 for $1.85 million – considered a huge figure at that time – and led to a long history of handling such cases.

Strip Searches

Since the early 1980s we have successfully represented people who have had their civil rights violated by being illegally strip searched. These cases have included strip searches by police on the street, by jail guards in police lockups, or by prison officials in prison.

Jail Suicide

Jails have a duty to take care of people who are locked up, including people who are mentally ill or distraught. It is a duty they often neglect, leading to a high rate of suicide by people in detention. Lawyers from our office have filed several civil rights lawsuits on behalf of the families whose loved ones died in custody and have obtained many favorable settlements.

Unlawful Searches

The 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution bans unreasonable searches and seizures, but the police often violate this law. If the police have wrongfully raided your home, or illegally searched you, we may be able to bring a civil rights lawsuit on your behalf for money damages.

Grand Jury Defense

Our attorneys have represented individuals subpoenaed to federal grand juries, particularly in cases where the grand jury has been used to investigate and suppress political dissent. As part of our work defending civil liberties, we have also represented individuals who have refused to testify before grand juries. Read more about our work fighting against government repression.

Representing Political Activists

For over forty years, we have represented social justice activists who have been charged criminally for protests or other political activity. This work has included many diverse groups and movements fighting for progressive and radical social change. In some cases, after we have beaten the criminal charges we have successfully sued the police officials for money damages. For example, we worked with other National Lawyers Guild attorneys on the class action lawsuit against the Chicago Police for the mass arrest of demonstrators against the Iraq War in 2003, which settled for $6.2 Million for the arrestees. Click here to find out more about our work defending dissent.

Prison Conditions and Parole

We have been involved in many cases where we have sued state, federal or county officials for unjust prison and jail conditions and treatment, and have also sued on behalf of inmates who have been subjected to physical brutality by guards or Corrections Officers. In addition, for decades we have represented prisoners in their efforts to be released on parole. Read more about our prison work.

 

Criminal

People’s Law Office has extensive experience defending people facing federal and state criminal charges and those convicted and sentenced to the death penalty.

Federal Criminal Defense

Attorneys from our office have defended clients in major federal criminal cases, particularly situations where the government has indicted individuals involved in political activity. For example, our office successfully defended Palestinian American Muhammad Salah against false charges of terrorism.

Capital Defense Litigation

Our office has often represented clients facing the death penalty, including representation in the trial, appellate and post-conviction stages. People’s Law Office was active in the movement that led to the Illinois moratorium on the death penalty in 2000 and the eventual state-wide abolition of capital punishment in 2011. Read more about our work fighting against the Death Penalty.

Criminal Defense

Often, in cases of police brutality where the police themselves have used excessive force or falsely arrested someone, they charge the victim with crimes, such as disorderly conduct, battery or resisting arrest. We are experienced in defending against such charges and then, after acquittal, pursuing a civil rights case against the police. We have also represented activists and protestors criminally charged while demonstrating or engaged in political actions.