The McGeorge Alternative Summer Advantage Program (“McGeorge ASAP”) is a self-directed volunteer summer legal research project created by alum Lexi Purich Howard and former Asst. Dean of Career Development Molly Stafford in response to COVID-19. Today, the program provides students with a means of fine-tuning their research and writing skills while discussing a subject they are passionate about. This week’s ASAP paper was authored by Robert Rodriguez (2L, 2024) under the mentorship of Carmen-Nicole Cox (’11), Chief Counsel of Public Policy and Advocacy at United Way California Capital Region and an adjunct professor of Race, Mass Incarceration, & Criminal Justice Reform at McGeorge.
“Likely frustrated with a lack of accountability in criminal court, 66% of Americans believe that citizens need to have the power to sue police officers for using excessive force. Contrary to this sentiment, instances of police brutality have not increased significantly. However, the availability of phones with recording capability has increased significantly, exposing the misconduct by law enforcement to a world audience with the tap of a screen. With confidence in law enforcement to act in the public’s best interest on the decline among American citizens, civil suits are a citizen’s last line of defense. Under federal law, a person has the power to bring a civil suit against the law enforcement officer that deprived that citizen’s constitutional rights with a section 1983 civil action. In California, residents have the choice of a Tom Bane Act civil action, as well as the § 1983 civil action. Both actions can be used to compensate a victim in the form of compensatory damages, punitive damages, and/or an injunction to attempt to ensure similar future incidents of constitutional deprivations do not occur.”