Accelerated Civil Rights Settlements in the Shadow of Section 1983

njdiver

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Accelerated Civil Rights Settlements in the Shadow of Section 1983

Accelerated civil rights settlement relies on Section 1983, but in a new way that differs from its previous uses. Still, this paper concludes that just as accelerated civil rights settlement represents brilliant strategy, its reliance on Section 1983 is no less meaningful than previous applications. The paper recounts Section 1983’s history as a malleable statutory tool. It ties Section 1983’s current role to its past incarnations, including its Reconstruction Era origin as a federal law aimed squarely at the Klan. It considers the law’s purpose in 1960’s Chicago, when it was employed to challenge racist police practices. It looks to how it was relied upon in impact litigation concerning the 1999 shooting of Amadou Diallo.

Choosing accelerated civil rights settlement can help victims’ families avoid litigation’s worst moments. In the wake of so many failed prosecutions of the officers involved in police shootings and custodial deaths, it may also be the only way in which the law helps honor lost lives.

 

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