Law Enforcement: The Most Abused Profession

     Law enforcement officers serve in a dangerous world of endless investigations and complaints.  Because of the nature of law enforcement work, officers often become an accused: administratively, internally, civilly, criminally, through personnel actions, through action against the officer's certification and beyond.  False or misleading accusations may jeopardize an officer's career and personal assets.

     Law enforcement officers are under increasing legal attack from multiple sources: their own agencies, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Justice Department and its specialized Law Enforcement Prosecutions Unit, U.S. Attorneys, the Attorney General and the Special Prosecutions Unit, local prosecutors, internal affairs units, Training & Standards Commissions, special interest groups, the media, politicians, criminals, other government agencies, and others. 

     Law enforcement officers are the most abused and violated persons in America.  Defending false and frivolous legal and personnel charges is a constant threat to officers and their families.  Daily split-second decisions may jeopardize an officer's career, law enforcement certification and freedom. 

     Law enforcement officers are subject to multiple overlapping federal and state criminal prosecutions and investigations.  Officers are frequently subjected to multiple civil suits in their individual capacities arising out of a single accusation therefore endangering the officer's personal assets. 

     Retaliatory and wrongful personnel actions increasingly plague many law enforcement agencies.  Protecting a law enforcement officer from inappropriate personnel action has become a complex legal task that necessitates extensive strategic planning and specialized advocacy. 

Our Work

     The McGuinness Law Firm provides comprehensive legal, investigative and research services for the law enforcement profession.  Our mission is to protect the legal interests and personal assets of officers.  We often represent rank and file front line officers, and management officials when wrongfully accused.

     We represent officers in all types of constitutional, civil rights, employment, administrative and civil litigation.  We prosecute civil claims against those who abuse officers.  We defend officers from all types of civil, administrative, internal and criminal charges.  Our tradition is premised upon thorough investigation, diligent preparation and old-fashioned aggressive lawyering.

Some Typical Services

      We regularly provide the following services for officers:

  • Advice and representation in combating all types of alleged misconduct charges.

  • Addressing F.B.I., S.B.I. and prosecutorial inquiries.

  • Plaintiff and defense litigation; trials and appeals.

  • Addressing Internal Affairs investigations and Garrity orders.

  • Preparation and prosecution of complaints, grievances, petitions, lawsuits and other personnel documents.

  • Protecting the officer's law enforcement certification in proceedings before the N.C. Criminal Justice and Sheriffs' Training & Standards Commissions and the N.C. Office of Administrative Hearings.

  • Designing protective measures to combat retaliation.

  • Preparing officers to undergo official interrogations.

  • Challenging adverse personnel actions through administrative and judicial proceedings.
    Complete defense of alleged excessive force charges.

  • Critical incident analysis and representation.

  • Representation of officers in various testing disputes including fitness for duty examinations, psychological, medical and other employment related testing.

  • Specialized investigations to capture evidence and preserve the truth.

  • Analysis of disparate treatment and discrimination problems.

  • Obtaining unemployment compensation and other benefits.

 Our Experience

     Since 1984, we have represented officers at all levels of federal and state trial and appellate courts, including the United States Supreme Court.

     We have represented officers in all types of proceedings including Civil Service Commissions, the N.C. Office of Administrative Hearings, the N.C. Personnel Commission, the N.C. Employment Security Commission, the N.C. Training and Standards Commissions, the Office of the Governor, the General Assembly and other forums.  We serve as consultants to other lawyers who need special expertise in the fields of law enforcement liability, law enforcement personnel law, and related fields.

 Educational Advocacy

     As a part of our advocacy, we provide educational and training seminars.  We frequently publish articles in law and bar association journals and in law enforcement magazines.  We regularly contribute articles to Police Magazine.  We prepare chapters for national textbooks published by the Practicing Law Institute and WestGroup.  Our new book, Law Enforcement Officer Legal Survival Guide, is forthcoming.

     We have lectured and/or authored manuscripts for the American Bar Association, the Practising Law Institute, the N.C. Bar Association, the N.C. Academy of Trial Lawyers, the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys, numerous local, state, regional and national law enforcement officer associations, and the Labor Relations Information System which provides frequent national educational programs for law enforcement officers.

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Copyright 2000 J. Michael McGuinness.  All Rights Reserved.