The Cato Institute is not a legal assistance service. We cannot offer legal advice or referral services.
We strongly advise misconduct victims consult with a lawyer before discussing their cases with others or attempting to go public with their stories.
For some general background information, victims of police misconduct should go here.
Below is some additional information that you may find useful:
- A Guide to Hiring a Lawyer
- Do you qualify for free legal assistance?
- Find a criminal defense lawyer by location
- 10 Questions to ask an attorney that you are thinking about hiring
Finding legal help can be frustrating. To make the process easier, a few more tips: (1) Be patient; (2) Be polite; (3) If they say that they cannot help you with your case, say, “Okay, I understand, but can you give me some suggestions for people or organizations that might be able to help me?” Have paper and pen ready to go.
As you look around for an attorney, always begin with a very short summary of the case. Wait for someone to ask you for the details, or entire story. The person answering the phone does not need to hear the details of your case. Just give that person basic information. Below are a few examples:
Example: Some cops beat up my brother. They did not arrest him, but we want to sue them for what they did. We need help to find an attorney.
Example: My son’s trial was unfair and he was sentenced to 20 years in prison. We need help to find an attorney that can help us.
Example: My boyfriend was arrested and we cannot afford bail. We need help to find an attorney that can advise us what to do next.
A few sentences is all the person answering the phone needs. Wait for someone to ask you for more information about the case. If your friend or relative got into trouble while visiting another city and state, be sure to mention that fact. For example, if your friend lives in Chicago, but was arrested in Philadelphia, mention that fact early.