Print

Federal Civil Rights Law

Federal Civil Rights Law

 
Federal Civil Rights Law
Fall 2003
Professor Katherine Franke 
 
Mon., Tues. & Weds. 11:00 - 12:20
 Room JG105

"You were put here to protect us, but who protects us from you?
Everytime you say, "that's illegal", does it mean that it's true?
Your authority's never questioned, no one questions you
If I hit you, I'll be killed, if you hit me, I can sue
...
You were here to protect us, but who protects us from you?"

KRS-One - "Who Protects Us From You?" on Ghetto Music: The Blueprint of Hip Hop, Boogie Down Productions

 

Course Introduction

The course will provide an historical and statutory overview of federal civil rights law - with a particular emphasis on police misconduct. Class format will combine lecture and discussion, with an emphasis on discussion. A significant portion of the class will be devoted to the details of litigating under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 - a statute that provides a private right of action for violations of the U.S. Constitution or federal laws. If you plan to clerk after graduation, you will encounter § 1983 cases a great deal, and will find our work in this class very helpful.

Class attendance and participation are very important. Each student will be required to write one short (three-five pages double-spaced) paper during the course of the semester on a problem that will be distributed. There will be an in-class, open-book final examination.

Administrative Details

Professor Franke's Coordinates:

Office: Room 627
Phone: 854-0061
E-Mail: kfranke@law.columbia.edu
Professor Franke's Assistant: Jinah Paek, 854-2511

Course Materials

  • Theodore Eisenberg, Civil Rights Legislation: Cases and Materials (4th ed.)
  • Theodore Eisenberg, Civil Rights Legislation: Cases and Materials Supplement (2000)

texts are available at:  Labyrinth Books, 536 W. 112th Street.

  • Supplemental Readings, available during the semester (KF Supp.)

Course Outline

Part I: History of the Reconstruction Era Constitutional Amendments and Reconstruction Era Civil Rights Statutes

Part II: 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 - Civil Remedy for Deprivation of Rights Under Color of State Law

Part III: 42 U.S.C. Section 1985(3) and  - Civil Remedies for Conspiracies to Deprive Rights

Part IV: Civil RICO Actions against Police Departments

Part V: U.S. DOJ Initiated Actions to Combat Patterns and Practices of Police Misconduct

 

Syllabus

 

Part I: History of the Reconstruction Era Constitutional Amendments and Reconstruction Era Civil Rights Statutes

1. Intro, DuBois - Available at Secretariat, 7th Floor of Jerome Greene Hall - Read for first day of class.

2. Dred Scott;   - Available at Secretariat, 7th Floor of Jerome Greene Hall.
Free Soil Map of the U.S.

3. "To The Governor of Mississippi" from "We The Colored People" Dec. 3, 1865
    19th Century Civil Rights Cases - Text pp. 3-44

4. 19th Century Civil Rights Cases Continued - Laws Relating to Freedmen - KF Supp.; Text pp. 45-64; Freedmen's Condition at Davis Bend - Spring 1864 (also available in hard copy in KF Supp if you can't read it)

 

Part II: 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 - Civil Remedy for Deprivation of Rights Under Color of State Law

5. Section 1983 Intro/Under Color of State Law - Text pp. 65-106; TE Supp. p. 3

6. DeShaney - KF Supp.

7. "And Laws" - Text pp. 107-131

8. "And Laws" cont. - Freestone in KF Supp. - available in hard copy outside my assistant's office on 6th floor

9. Constitutional Deprivations - Text pp. 131-155

10. Constitutional Deprivations cont. - Cty of Sacramento v. Lewis - KF Supp.

11. Absolute Immunities - Text pp. 193-257; TE Supp. pp. 5-6

12. Qualified Immunities - Text pp. 258-86; TE Supp. pp. 7-10

13. Qualified Immunities cont. - Crawford-El v. Britton, Snyder v. Trepagnier (facts, Part III, and S.Ct. questions only)

14. Katz - 9th Cir., S.Ct. argument, and S.Ct. opinion

15. Municipal Liability - Text pp. 299-340

16. Brown - TE Supp. pp. 11-25; Evans and Williams KF Supp.

17. SnyderMonell Discussion - Chart to fill in for class

Part III: 42 U.S.C. Section 1985(3) 

18. 1985(3) - Text pp. 754-783; Report on the Condition of Freedmen, Magnolia, Miss; Lyes - KF Supp.

Part IV - U.S. DOJ Initiated Actions to Combat Patterns and Practices of Police Misconduct

19. 42 U.S.C. Sec. 14141 Actions

City of Los Angeles v. Lyons - the standing problem
42 U.S.C. Sec. 14141
Debra Livingston, Police Reform and The Department of Justice: An Essay On Accountabililty
Pittsburgh complaint
DOJ Pittsburgh Findings Letter

Part V - National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights v. City of New York (Street Crimes Unit Case)

Materials Available in hard copy outside Professor Franke's office

Third Amended Complaint - skim
Answer to Third Amended Complaint - skim
Defendants' Brief on Motion to Dismiss - focus on Points II and IV
Plaintiff's Opposition to Motion to Dismiss - focus on Parts I and IV
Opinion and Order on Motion to Dismiss
Opinion and Order Reconsidering Ruling on Motion to Dismiss

Part VI. RICO - Civil Remedies for Conspiracies to Deprive Rights

21. Materials Available in hard copy outside Professor Franke's office

Text of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1962 and 1964 - Civil RICO statute
Complaint in Guerrero v. Gates

For class on the 15th, please read the statute and complaint above, and then:

outline the plaintiff's causes of action and;

prepare an outline of what you anticipate will be the defendants' defenses, if not, the basis of their motions to dismiss.

22. Guerrero v. Gates - materials available outside Professor Franke's office

Defendants' Motion to Dismiss
Plaintiffs' Opposition to Motion to Dismiss
Two Orders on Motion to Dismiss

23. Trevino I, San Pedro Hotel, and Navarro - materials available outside Professor Franke's office

Immunities Issues in Guerrero v. Gates

24. Civil RICO used against Operation Rescue

NOW v. Scheidler - S.Ct. Opinion

NOW v. Scheidler - 7th Cir. on remand