Please read the below information about how the ACLU of Kansas accepts cases before submitting a complaint at the link below.
How do I file a legal complaint with the ACLU of Kansas?
The ACLU of Kansas does not accept requests for legal assistance in person or by telephone. To ask the ACLU of Kansas for legal assistance, you must complete and submit a complaint form. You can submit a complaint either online or by mail by writing to: ACLU of Kansas Legal Department; P.O. Box 917; Mission, KS 66201.
Can the ACLU of Kansas advise me about my case?
The ACLU of Kansas cannot advise you about your case or provide other types of assistance (for example, reviewing your papers or conducting legal research) if we have not accepted your case and have an active agreement with you. This policy allows us to direct the necessary resources to those cases that we do accept and the clients to whom we are committed.
Types of cases we do not accept
- Generally, the ACLU does not accept the following types of cases: family law, denial of governmental benefits, landlord-tenant disputes, criminal defense, complaints about attorneys or judges, or employment matters.
- The ACLU does not ordinarily handle cases in which the primary purpose is to obtain monetary damages.
- We generally do not take third party complaints, meaning the complaint needs to be filed by the person directly impacted by the issue.
- The ACLU of Kansas is limited to addressing constitutional violations that occurred within the State of Kansas, and therefore we do not accept cases that occur outside of the state of Kansas.
While we continue to support better immigration policy in Kansas, we unfortunately do not handle individual immigration cases, such as ICE detainer cases. You may find an immigration attorney at https://www.justia.com/lawyers/immigration-law/kansas.
The ACLU does not handle complaints about lawyers. You should speak to the judge in your case about such a complaint. If your lawyer is a public defender, you can also write to the head of the public defender office in your area. If you wish to file a formal bar complaint against your lawyer, you should direct such complaints to the Office of the Disciplinary Administrator, 701 SW Jackson Street, 1st Floor, Topeka Kansas 66603-3729.
The ACLU does not represent defendants in individual criminal matters, specifically in trials, sentencing proceedings or modification filings, direct appeals, post-conviction remedies such as habeas corpus or 1507 proceedings, parole hearings, or probation or parole revocation proceedings.
Important note about deadlines
All legal claims have time deadlines. The deadlines may be different depending on who violated your rights and depending on what rights were violated. For some kinds of violations, you may need to file a claim with a government agency before you can sue, and these agencies usually have their own deadlines. The ACLU of Kansas cannot advise you about the deadlines that apply to your case. To protect your rights, please consult with an attorney promptly to find out what deadlines apply in your case.
Where else can I go for help?
We are a private, non-profit organization with limited resources; therefore, we must be very selective in choosing our cases. Only very few cases meet our criteria for selection under state and federal constitutional matters, and even among those cases, we can take only a small percentage of the complaints we receive. If your case does not meet our selection criteria, you may seek legal advice and assistance from a private lawyer with experience handling your issues. You may be able to find such lawyers on www.lawyers.com and other similar websites. In addition, you could also contact the Kansas Bar Association's lawyer referral service at (800) 928-3111 either to find an attorney or to use their “Ask a Lawyer” service ($2/minute) in which you can ask legal questions in a cost-effective way without having to make a formal appointment with an attorney. More information about this service is here.
If you cannot afford to hire an attorney, you could contact the legal aid office that covers your county or city, but understand they also have a limited scope of cases for which they can provide representation. You can locate the appropriate office by visiting the website of Kansas Legal Services at http://www.kansaslegalservices.org/GetHelp.
- If you have an employment discrimination complaint and wish to bring such a claim, you must file a charge of discrimination with either the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or, assuming that you worked in Kansas, the Kansas Human Rights Commission (KHRC). In order to protect yourself, you should file a charge of discrimination with one of those agencies within 180 days of the last act of discrimination. If you fail to file a timely charge of discrimination, any lawsuit you file might be dismissed. In order to file a charge of discrimination, you may contact the EEOC’s National Contact Center toll-free at 1-800-669-4000 or 1-800-669-6820 (TTY). You may also write the EEOC’s Kansas City Area Office at Gateway Tower II, 400 State Ave., Suite 905, Kansas City, KS 66101. You may contact the KHRC at (785) 296-3206. You can contact the Kansas Human Rights Commission (KHRC), 900 S.W. Jackson Street, Suite 568, Topeka, Kansas 66612-1258, (785) 296-3206. You can download a KHRC complaint form here.
- If you have a complaint about law enforcement conduct, you may be able to file a complaint with the head of the involved law enforcement agency or its Internal Affairs Dept. If you believe you were a victim of racial profiling and discrimination, you may consider filing a complaint through the Commission on Peace Officers' Standards and Training (CPOST), an oversight agency with the Kansas Attorney General's Office, or 316-832-9906. You may also wish to seek representation by a lawyer with experience in police misconduct cases. You may be able to find such lawyers on www.lawyers.com.
- If you have a complaint about an individual incident of discrimination in healthcare, we would urge you to first file a civil rights complaint with the hospital's internal reporting avenue and with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- If you have a complaint related to an individual criminal matter, please be advised that the ACLU does not represent criminal defendants in trials, sentencing proceedings or modification filings, direct appeals, post-conviction remedies such as habeas corpus or 1507 proceedings, parole hearings, or probation or parole revocation proceedings. You are entitled to an appointed lawyer at trial and on your first direct appeal if you are indigent and cannot afford a lawyer. You should ask the court to appoint a lawyer to represent you. If the court will not appoint a lawyer for you, you should try to find a private lawyer to assist you. You can find criminal defense lawyers on the website of the Kansas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (www.kacdl.org/members.php) or with the Kansas Bar Association. If you are seeking to bring a challenge based on your claims of innocence, you may consider submitting an application to the Midwest Innocence Project (MIP).
- If you have a complaint related to conditions or treatment inside of a prison, jail, or other facility, please ensure you or the affected person/s exhausts all internal remedies and to save all responses you receive. Any claim you would try to bring later would depend on you exhausting all internal grievance procedures, such as filing grievances, appealing decisions or disciplinary actions, and submitting form-9 or other requests for remedies you are seeking. Please see our resource here on the Prison Litigation Reform Act.
- If you have a complaint related to sexual assault inside of a prison or other facility, please know that you do have the right to be free from rape and sexual assault while incarcerated. The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), passed by Congress in 2003, applies to all detention facilities, including federal and state prisons, jails, police lock-ups, private facilities, and immigration detention centers, and specifically recognizes that sexual assault in detention can constitute a violation of the Eighth Amendment. PREA requires that facilities adopt a zero-tolerance approach to this form of abuse. The failure to protect prisoners from sexual assault by other inmates may also amount to a violation of the Eighth Amendment, if you can show that the prison staff was deliberately indifferent to a serious risk of harm. If a guard or another prisoner has assaulted you in prison, you may be able to make a (1) federal constitutional law claim (that is, a claim that your constitutional rights were violated) and/or (2) a state law claim (that is, a claim that a state law was violated).
You may consider contacting a trusted staff person, dialing #50 from any offender phone in the Kansas Department of Corrections, or sending a letter or form-9 to the PREA coordinator: PREA coordinator; Kansas Department of Corrections; 714 SW Jackson Street; Topeka, KS 66603. If you have other general concerns about your safety, please consider submitting a request to your counselor, unit manager, or other staff member detailing your concerns and request to be moved or have your situation rectified. Additionally, we suggest documenting in detail these attempts to receive a solution and possibly reporting to: U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division; Special Litigation, Corrections; 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW; Washington, DC 20530.