Civil Rights Advocacy

Michel & Associates, P.C.’s civil rights lawyers advocate on behalf of a variety of civil rights, including the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, the right to self-defense, student rights, housing rights, and the rights of medical marijuana patients and their caregivers.

The Second Amendment and the Right to Self-Defense
Michel & Associates has one of the most recognized and respected firearms litigation practices in the nation. Our team of litigators and legal advisors is comprised of former district attorneys, trial lawyers, retired state legislators, constitutional law professors, and authors of law review articles and best-selling books on firearms law. We are proud to be on the front lines of the self-defense civil rights battle. Litigation and test cases moving through the courts today will establish the parameters of the right to keep and bear arms for future generations. We provide outstanding advocacy on behalf of the National Rifle Association, the California Rifle and Pistol Association, other Second Amendment and self-defense civil rights advocacy groups, as well as the individual gun owner.

Student Rights and Special Education
Having legal representation at student disciplinary proceedings has become increasingly important. Often parents and students are not informed that they have the right to an attorney at all stages of school discipline and special education proceedings.  With the advent of “zero tolerance” policies, school districts and their attorneys take advantage of their familiarity with the system and often quickly suspend and expel children leaving inexperienced parents and students with little or no recourse. Students facing disciplinary proceedings before a school board often simultaneously face criminal charges in juvenile court stemming from the same conduct. Because the lawyers of Michel & Associates have experience in both criminal and education law, we can represent students before both venues.

In addition to ensuring discipline hearings meet due process requirements, we hold school districts accountable when they fail to provide the appropriate educational opportunities for children with disabilities. We assist parents in requesting assessment, and in formulating and implementing Individualized Education Plans. When parents and school districts disagree on placement, our attorneys have represented children and parents in due process hearings and, where appropriate, sought emergency intervention from the State.

Landlord – Tenant / Housing Law
Landlords who turn a blind eye to the law subject themselves to civil and, on some occasions, criminal liability. Michel & Associates’ attorneys have represented tenants in lawsuits against their landlords and have obtained substantial money judgments and improved living conditions. Our attorneys have successfully brought claims for racial, religious, ethnic, and gender discrimination; for failure to disclose certain dangerous conditions such as the presence of lead, asbestos or mold; and for failure to maintain rented properties in legally habitable condition.

Michel & Associates lawyers also help landlords comply with the law and zealously defend against claims brought by tenants.

Medical Marijuana
Michel & Associates’s lawyers use their specialized experience in a variety of legal fields to assist patients, caregivers, doctors, cooperatives, collectives, dispensaries, and others associated with the cultivation, distribution, and use of medical marijuana. Michel & Associates’ attorneys typically assist our clients in business formation, licensing, permitting, tax collection, leasing of facilities, establishment and implementation of best management practices, interaction with and lobbying of state and local law enforcement and government representatives, seeking the return of seized property including marijuana, bringing civil actions to protect the rights of our clients, and defending against civil litigation and criminal prosecutions. For now at least, the federal government steadfastly refuses to recognize the medicinal value of marijuana, or even to acknowledge the difference between medical and recreational use of marijuana. So marijuana, including medical marijuana, is still illegal under federal law. But many states have enacted legislation that allows certain patients to use medical marijuana legally. In 1996, California voters approved Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act (CUA), allowing medical marijuana patients and their caregivers the right to cultivate and possess marijuana for medical use. And in 2003 the State Legislative passed Senate Bill (SB) 420, which gave the Attorney General the authority to clarify some aspects of the CUA.

Unfortunately, interpreting the often ambiguous Health & Safety Code provisions that set the CUA and SB 420 into law has proven to be extremely complicated and politically influenced. Legal interpretations of the CUA and SB 420 continue to evolve. In California, regulations and opinions regarding the application of the medical marijuana laws vary widely between cities, counties, State agencies, and multi-jurisdictional agencies. As some jurisdictions resist allowing dispensaries to operate, legal issues concerning the identification and qualification of patients and caregivers; forming, opening and operating a collective or cooperative; cultivating and distributing medical marijuana; recovering costs of operation; and getting back property seized by law enforcement officials are necessarily being resolved or refined through litigation. As cases work their way through the courts, judicial decisions often raise more questions than they answer.

Michel & Associates’ attorneys are uniquely qualified to represent our clients in what is still a highly charged and dynamic political environment, one in which inadvertent violations can be all too common, and potential legal consequences unjustly severe.

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