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The Sanders Firm, P.C.: Selective Prosecution

In New York City, The Sanders Firm, P.C., which focuses on all forms of civil rights complaints, is equipped to handle cases involving selective prosecution. In essence the First Amendment offers those in the United States various freedoms, including assembly, speech, and religion, and the Fourth Amendment provides protection in the area of probable cause, protecting citizens from false or unfounded charges, arrest, and seizure of property. The Fifth Amendment promises due process under the law, meaning when someone is charged with a crime they must go through a procedure that is fair and preserves their rights.

In other words, we cannot be charged with a crime when merely exercising our rights granted in the First Amendment, even if people oppose our position, and to be charged with a crime there must be some sort of evidence against us as noted in the Fourth Amendment. When people are prosecuted as criminals based on unacceptable standards such as religion, race, or profiling, this is known as selective prosecution. This type of targeting directly violates the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment.

Selective Prosecution and the Fourteenth Amendment

The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees all people “equal protection of the law.” Specifically, selective prosecution is a violation of this right. When those in law enforcement and prosecution target a particular class of persons and then fail to use the same standards in pursuing those who are not in the targeted group, they are engaging in selective prosecution.

Criminal prosecution based on an unjustifiable standard such as race, religion, or other types of arbitrary classification has been deemed by the Supreme Court to be unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court has held that selective prosecution occurs where the law enforcement officials or prosecutors have in pursuing a criminal case “directed so exclusively against a particular class of persons … with a mind so unequal and oppressive” that equal protection of the law has been negated by their efforts. (United States v. Armstrong, 517 U.S. 456, 116 S. Ct. 1480, 134 L. Ed. 2d 687 [1996], quoting Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356, 6 S. Ct. 1064, 30 L. Ed. 220 [1886]).

Equal Protection of the Law

The attorneys at The Sanders Firm, P.C. takes any violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, which provides for equal protection of the law, as a very serious breach of federal law and your civil rights. We steadfastly believe in the importance of equal protection of the law as an important standard for those in law enforcement and those prosecuting cases.

Fighting Against Selective Prosecution

If you’re in the New York City area and you believe have been the victim of selective prosecution and your Fourteenth Amendment rights to equal protection of the law have been violated, contact The Sanders Firm, P.C. We will gladly discuss your concerns and be your voice for justice.