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civil rights litigation

It is terrifying to be the victim of blatant abuse or more subtle misconduct at the hands of a state actor. If you feel you have been the victim of excessive force, harassment, sexual abuse, or otherwise deprived of your constitutional rights by a state actor, please call, write, or email my office to obtain a free consultation and to discuss your legal options. Rights are like muscles. To protect them, you must exercise them, and I can help you determine whether to sue in federal court, file an administrative complaint, or otherwise act to remedy the wrong you have suffered.

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“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere.”

–Elie Wiesel, Excerpt from Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech in Oslo, Norway, December 10th, 1986.



Life is not fair, but our judicial system should be. Unfortunately, the justice obtained for a person too often directly correlates with the resources a person has. If a person cannot afford to obtain good legal representation, a lot of the time he or she ends up with a horrible legal outcome. Nevertheless, many lawyers, judges, and legal practitioners remain deeply committed to equality and the equal application of our laws and the attendant consequences, regardless of a person’s economic placement in society.

I deeply believe that a person’s access to justice should not depend on what is in their bank account. All that should matter are the facts of the case and the legal standard. In my practice, no client is more important than any other client. Each client is an individual with a personal set of facts specific to their own legal plight, and I give each client customized legal advice and my intense focus, determination, and deep commitment. More than anything, I wait for the day when our ideals of equality line up with our lived reality.


We live in a time of great concentrated wealth. Many people cannot get ahead, because what they are paid for their hard work leaves nothing left over once basic necessities are met. These are some of the hardest working and most dedicated people in our country, who simply cannot catch a break.

For example, my father immigrated from Mexico in the 1960’s and worked almost his entire working-life in the shipyards of Oregon. He would come home covered in soot after working a 10-12 hour day, yet money in our household was always a struggle as a child, housing at times became an issue, and food insecurity was a regular reality. Unfortunately, this is an everyday American story; it is not an unusual occurrence. I understand what it is like to work so hard and to still fall short in being able to provide, I have watched it, and I lived it.

A plaintiff in a civil rights matter cannot afford to fall short in a courtroom when they are fighting for justice or defending their very freedom. Money should not be an impenetrable wall to the justice that they deserve. My law office is dedicated solely to working on behalf of the people who cannot write that check for legal representation. I strongly believe that money should not be the deciding factor in whether or not someone gets to present a vigorous defense or have a lawyer who will vigilantly chase after the justice that their client deserves.


Justice and freedom should be readily available to those who deserve them. I believe in second chances, redemption, and compassion. I have seen countless individuals learn from their past mistakes and move on to become invaluable members of their communities and families. I am often reminded of the story of David and Goliath, where the giant does not win. Many times, true justice is lost in judicial process, people get knocked down by the state, or they lose their way and become victims of trauma, addiction, and the cycle of poverty. I believe that one of the most compassionate things we can do for one another is to truly see each other, to really hear each other, and to try and understand. It is my privilege to meet my client in their darkest and most vulnerable time and to walk with them in the pursuit of their justice. Nothing bothers me more, or keeps me awake at night more than injustice.

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“[I]n view of the Constitution, in the eye of the law, there is in this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens. There is no caste here. Our Constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law. The humblest is the peer of the most powerful.”

–Justice John Marshall Harlan,

the sole dissenter in Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896.



Leticia C. Chavez-Freed

Leticia Chavez-Freed is the owner of The Chavez-Freed Law Office. She is an attorney who did not fall into this profession because it sounded like “a great thing to be” or “quite the accomplishment”. Rather she was called to this work by a deep, unrelenting, and unwavering desire to serve the most vulnerable people in this country. This calling could never be silenced or smothered; it is in her very pulse. Her lived experience has provided her a front row seat to the challenges of growing up in poverty, the oppressive nature of the state, and a familial recognition of the over-charging of poor defendants and the horrific consequences of imprisonment. Leticia is compassionate, understanding, and lives with the belief that people are redeemable, and their lives should not be judged on a singular bad act, but rather, everything should be taken into account. Her commitment to equality, and equal application of our laws and consequences regardless of income, race, ethnicity, religion, non-religion, gender, gender-identity, and sexual orientation, is constant. Leticia received her J.D. from St. Thomas University School of Law, and her B.A. degree in political science from Portland State University. In her spare time she enjoys reading, baking, and spending time with her husband, son and 107 pound rescue dog, Falcor. Leticia is able to practice law in the state of Pennsylvania; The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, The United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, The United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, and The Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Leticia is a graduate of the Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers College, where she spent three weeks with some of the finest attorneys in the Country perfecting trial techniques.






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