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Wrongful Conviction & Civil Rights

Greg Taylor Declared Innocent After Serving 17 Years in Prison.

Exonerated Man Receives $7.5 Miilion from City of Goldsboro

Wrongful Conviction

Though thankfully not common, it is a tragic fact that innocent persons are occasionally convicted and unjustly deprived of their liberty.  Wrongful convictions can result from a variety of different circumstances.  When a wrongful conviction results from the misconduct of a law enforcement officer, for instance through fabrication of evidence or the withholding of evidence favorable to the accused, an individual who was the victim of wrongful incarceration may have legal claims that can be pursued.  The State of North Carolina provides for a limited statutory stipend to those who were wrongfully incarcerated.  However, the amount that can be provided an exonerated individual is capped at $750,000.  That sum is woefully inadequate to compensate someone who may have lost the best and most productive 15 or 20 years of their life as a result of a wrongful conviction.

Martin & Jones is actively pursuing claims against law enforcement officers and the State of North Carolina on behalf of individuals who were wrongfully incarcerated.  These cases are difficult, time-consuming, and vigorously defended.  In addition to difficult immunity defenses, there are often complex issues involving insurance coverage.

Civil Rights

All citizens are entitled to protection against unlawful interference by the government.  This protection is generally known as an individual's civil rights, and they provide individuals protection against unlawful intrusions by the government and government actors.  An individual’s civil rights include protection against discrimination by the government and private entities.  There are laws protecting individuals’ civil rights and that also prohibit discrimination in employment, education, public accommodations, credit, housing, and the receipt of medical and healthcare.  If your constitutional or statutory rights were violated by the government or some governmental agent or employee, you may have a right to recover monetary damages.

The attorneys at Martin & Jones, PLLC have extensive experience litigating civil rights claims in the federal and state courts of North Carolina.  We have pursued claims under the Federal Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against various local government entities and their officials, officers, and employees.  We have also pursued a variety of claims arising from violations of rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the North Carolina Constitution.

Lawsuits against state, local, and federal governments can be extremely complicated, expensive and time-consuming.  Governmental entities and agents typically seek the dismissal of civil rights claims on immunity grounds, claiming that they cannot be sued for the actions complained of.  The attorneys at Martin & Jones are experienced in dealing with and overcoming the various immunity defenses which are commonly asserted in civil rights actions.

Police Misconduct

Although most North Carolina law enforcement officers conduct themselves in a professional manner and are dedicated and responsible public servants, there are police officers who abuse their authority.  When police officers overstep their bounds, they can cause serious injuries or damages to members of the public.  Police misconduct claims are often complex and hard-fought.  An individual’s right to recover compensation for injuries or damages is affected by a variety of defenses which are only available to governmental entities, agencies, officials, and employees.  The attorneys at Martin & Jones are experienced in dealing with and overcoming these immunity defenses and in the successful pursuit of civil rights claims.