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Civil Rights Lawyer Des Moines, IA

Civil Rights Lawyer Des Moines, IA

Civil Rights Lawyer Des Moines, IA

Do you need a civil rights lawyer in Des Moines, IA? You may not know whether you do or not—if you don’t know what a civil rights lawyer does, they protect individuals and groups against discrimination and violations of their civil rights with lawsuits and settlement negotiations. If you live in Iowa and you believe that your civil rights were infringed upon in any way, going to a reputable civil rights lawyer is a good start. With their guidance and support, they can help you file a claim against the party who violated your rights. Some frequent rights these lawyers protect are freedom of speech, religion, or assembly; the right to petition the government; the right to procedural due process, and freedom from discrimination of sex, race, national origin, and more.

But that does not tell you whether you need a civil rights lawyer in Des Moines, IA, does it? You’re going to want a civil rights lawyer if any of your rights are violated. Many people think they can resolve a civil rights violation themselves without the assistance of a lawyer who specializes in the area. However, this is a risky decision to make. If you are fighting a case against powerful individuals and institutions who have their own skilled legal teams, it is even more imperative that you hire a civil rights lawyer. Attempting to handle a civil rights case on your own is not recommended as it is a complex area of law. A civil rights lawyer can help you determine if you’ve been mistreated based on your religion, race, gender, or disability.

Understanding Your Civil Rights

Any violation of your civil rights should not be tolerated. The Constitution grants individuals their civil rights and civil liberties, which include the following: 

  • Freedom of speech
  • Freedom of assembly
  • Freedom of religion
  • Freedom to vote
  • Freedom of the press
  • Right to privacy
  • Right to have a fair trial
  • Right to access public utilities
  • Right to receive government services
  • Freedom against unlawful searches and seizures
  • Freedom from cruel and unusual punishment
  • Freedom from discrimination based on religion, race, sex, gender, age, or disability
  • Freedom from discrimination in employment, housing, and education

Because civil rights encompass many different types of freedoms, civil rights violations cover a wide range of diverse scenarios. Every individual is protected against discrimination, whether it occurs at work, school, or a business. Everyone is entitled to equal treatment under the law. Our firm stands up for our clients and comes to their defense when their civil rights have been violated, whether it was a violation made by the government or a business. 

A Few Common Types of Civil Rights Violations

  • Searches and seizures that were unreasonable, or otherwise illegal.
  •  Punishments that are deemed to be cruel and unusual.
  •  If you lose a job or are passed over by a promotion because of something discriminatory.
  • If you are abused by a public official.
  • If you are discriminated against for any superficial quality or belief.

Were Your Civil Rights Violated in a Police Interrogation?

Sometimes, a person may find themselves at the wrong place at the wrong time. This can sometimes even lead to an individual being accused of a crime. Although the American criminal justice system is supposed to adhere to the principle that every person is innocent until proven guilty, a Des Moines, IA civil rights lawyer knows that is often not the case in the eyes of law enforcement.

When an individual is suspected of committing a criminal act, the police will often question the person. The police may also perform a search of the suspect’s home, vehicle, or other personal space (such as a work locker). If the police decide to arrest the suspect, he or she will be taken into police custody. At this point, the police officers may decide to interrogate the suspect.

Although police officers are allowed to do all of the things mentioned above, there are certain procedures they must follow in order to ensure that the suspect’s constitutional rights are protected. Unfortunately, there are many cases where police officers do not follow those protocols and instead, use tactics that not only violate the suspect’s civil rights but can also result in harm to the individual.

Police Brutality

There are cases where police will justify using force against a suspect while arresting them. An officer may claim that the suspect was not complying with a request being made by the officer or claim the suspect was attempting to flee. There are tactics and techniques – some of them improper – that an officer can use to keep a suspect “inline” or to get a suspect to confess to a crime – even a crime the suspect did not commit. A Des Moines, IA civil rights lawyer has represented many clients who have confessed to crimes they did not commit because of the intimidating and manipulating tactics used on them by officers conducting the interrogations.

Some of these tactics include using excessive force, conducting a strip or body cavity search, or even torture in order to get a suspect to confess to crimes they did not commit. If violence is used, such as slapping, punching, and kicking, the suspect can suffer mild to major injuries, depending on the amount of force used. Some common injuries include the following:

  • Broken bones
  • Bruises/abrasions
  • Lacerations
  • Facial fractures
  • Traumatic brain injury

If you believe your civil rights have been violated, contact a Des Moines, IA civil rights lawyer to find out what legal recourse you may have against those who caused you to suffer.

 Advantages of Hiring a Civil Rights Lawyer

Having a qualified civil rights lawyer who will stay by your side and be a strong advocate for you is important if your civil rights have been violated. Specializing in this area of law, they can provide you with a detailed explanation about your rights and specific information that’s relevant to your case. Because civil rights cover many topics, you need to work with a lawyer who has extensive knowledge and experience, demonstrating a proven record of achieving positive outcomes for their clients. A violation of civil rights is extremely hard to prove, so working with a skilled lawyer is key. An experienced civil rights lawyer will provide an honest assessment of your case and explain if and how your rights were violated. Following your consultation, they can suggest important action steps you should take. 

What Should My First Steps Be?

If you suspect that your civil rights were violated, there are a few things you should do right away. Write down your account of what happened. Bring any important documents and pieces of evidence such as photos to your consultation. Obtain the names and contact information of any witnesses who were present at the scene. The lawyer will use them to build your case argument. 

A Legal Team You Can Depend On

Johnston Martineau, LLP in Des Moines, IA is a law firm that handles civil rights, whether you’re discriminated against because of your age, race, disability, religion, or something else, this law firm is going to have your back. This law firm is built on providing “top-notch service” alongside in-depth knowledge of the legal system and acumen to its clients. They offer a free consultation and will help you decide whether they are the best law firm for your case or not.

The attorneys at Johnston Martineau, LLP have two goals in mind—protecting their clients’ rights, and ensuring you receive the compensation in full that you deserve and are owed. Did you lose your job because you were racially profiled but qualified for the position? Did your child get beat up at school because of their disability? Reach out to Johnston Martineau, LLP in Des Moines, IA to talk about your civil rights with a civil rights lawyer in Des Moines, IA.

Christopher Johnston, a founder of Johnston Martineau, graduated from William Mitchell College of Law and has experience at trial with the following focuses: car accidents, motorcycle accidents, dram shop cases, wrongful death, semi-truck accidents, pharmaceutical cases, police brutality / civil rights claims, litigation, mesothelioma cases, premises liability, medical device recalls/malfunctions, intersection accidents, plane crashes and much more.

He was born and raised in Iowa, and he is proud to help injured Iowans. Mr. Johnston has bar admissions in Iowa, Minnesota, the U.S. Court of Appeals 8th Circuit, and the Federal Court, specifically in the District of Minnesota.

Our other Christopher, Mr. Martineau, is the second founder of the law firm. His education started out at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, and then he worked for a large insurance company as an adjuster for claims. After working for an insurance company, Mr. Martineau made the decision that he wanted to help the people—not the big insurance companies. He attended Hamline University for his law school, and after graduation focused on personal injury cases.

Reach out to a civil rights lawyer in Des Moines, IA today.

How to Select the Right Civil Rights Lawyer

If you believe that your civil rights have been violated, your next step should be to hire a civil rights lawyer in Des Moines, IA. This legal professional can help you pursue a timely lawsuit and stand up for your legal rights. Here are some important qualities to look for in a lawyer.

  • Experience. If you want to pursue a discrimination lawsuit, it is important to work with a lawyer who has years of experience helping people who are victims of civil rights violations. During your initial consultation, you should ask questions to find out about a lawyer’s experience. For instance, you may want to ask how many civil rights cases a lawyer has handled in the past and what type of discrimination the cases involved.
  • Compassionate. If your civil rights have been violated, it is natural to feel angry and upset. That’s why it’s important to hire a civil rights lawyer who is truly compassionate towards you. He or she should understand that you’re dealing with something very difficult and provide words of encouragement.
  • Communicative. A civil rights lawyer should also take the time to listen to you and answer all of your questions. He or she should explain things in a language you can understand, rather than legal jargon. If you and your lawyer are having difficulty communicating with each other, you may want to find another lawyer.
  • Honest. It is also important to find a civil rights lawyer who is completely truthful. He or she should not just tell you what you want to hire. Civil rights lawsuits can be tricky to win, so your lawyer should give you an honest assessment of your chances of a successful claim.


If you have any friends or family members who have ever used a civil rights lawyer in Des Moines, IA, you may want to ask them for recommendations. Ask them how their experience was with their civil rights lawyer and if they would recommend him or her to others.

If you do not know anyone who has used civil rights lawyers before you can always contact organizations that focus on civil rights issues. They may be able to recommend a reputable civil rights lawyer in your area. Examples of these organizations may include American Center for Law and Justice and the American Civil Liberties Union.