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Clinical Education at UT Law

Real Cases. Real Experience.

Civil Rights Clinic

Case Docket

Curbing Excessive Force in Law Enforcement. The Clinic represents a U.S. citizen who was physically assaulted and subjected to excessive force by an officer of U.S. Customs and Border Protection during a routine search of her vehicle. The client has filed a lawsuit in federal court in Brownsville, Texas, seeking damages for her injuries. The lawsuit alleges that the officer violated her Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights. The Clinic is co-counseling the case with the ACLU of Texas.

Protecting the Health and Safety of Texas Prisoners. The Clinic assisted in the preparation of a class action lawsuit for injunctive and declaratory relief against the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, for violating the Eighth Amendment rights of prisoners. The lawsuit contends that the prison policies of subjecting inmates to extremely high indoor apparent temperatures during the summer months exposes them to a substantial risk of serious harm, including heat-related injury, illness, or death. Co-counsel on the case include the Texas Civil Rights Project and the private firm of Edward Law.

Protecting Prisoners’ Free Speech Rights. The Clinic assisted with a lawsuit brought by Prison Legal News (PLN), a publication project of the non-profit Human Rights Defense Center, based in Florida. PLN filed suit against a Texas county for refusing to allow jail inmates to receive PLN’s monthly news-magazine informing them of legal developments relating to prisoners’ rights. The federal court lawsuit alleged violations of the publisher’s First Amendment and Due Process rights. The lead counsel on the case was the Texas Civil Rights Project.

Right to Counsel and Due Process for the Criminally Accused.  The Clinic represents a Dallas area resident who was arrested in one county based on a warrant from another county, jailed for over thirty days, denied access to appointed counsel despite numerous requests, and denied timely release despite indications that the county issuing the warrant did not intend to prosecute him. The warrant for his arrest was later dismissed. Along with the Texas Fair Defense Project, the Clinic is researching whether the client’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel and Fourteenth Amendment due process rights were violated, for a possible lawsuit.

Preserving the First Amendment Rights of Journalists. The Clinic is assisting with the defense of Barrett Brown, a satirist, author and journalist who is being criminally prosecuted in federal court on numerous charges, including identity theft related charges. The case raises a number of First Amendment related issues, including the legal ramifications of copying and pasting links to websites operated by others. Counsel on the case are Charlie Swift, Ahmed Ghappour, and Marlo Cadeddu.