Section 1983 Deprivation of Rights Meaning

§1983. Civil action for deprivation of rights

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer’s judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was unavailable. For the purposes of this section, any Act of Congress applicable exclusively to the District of Columbia shall be considered to be a statute of the District of Columbia.

(R.S. §1979; Pub. L. 96–170, §1, Dec. 29, 1979, 93 Stat. 1284; Pub. L. 104–317, title III, §309(c), Oct. 19, 1996, 110 Stat. 3853.)

Codification

R.S. §1979 derived from act Apr. 20, 1871, ch. 22, §1, 17 Stat. 13.

Section was formerly classified to section 43 of Title 8, Aliens and Nationality.

Amendments

1996—Pub. L. 104–317 inserted before period at end of first sentence “, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer’s judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was unavailable”.

1979—Pub. L. 96–170 inserted “or the District of Columbia” after “Territory”, and provisions relating to Acts of Congress applicable solely to the District of Columbia.

Effective Date of 1979 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 96–170 applicable with respect to any deprivation of rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws occurring after Dec. 29, 1979, see section 3 of Pub. L. 96–170, set out as a note under section 1343 of Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure.

§1984. Omitted

Codification

Section, act Mar. 1, 1875, ch. 114, §5, 18 Stat. 337, which was formerly classified to section 46 of Title 8, Aliens and Nationality, related to Supreme Court review of cases arising under act Mar. 1, 1875. Sections 1 and 2 of act Mar. 1, 1875 were declared unconstitutional in U.S. v. Singleton, 109 U.S. 3, and sections 3 and 4 of such act were repealed by act June 25, 1948, ch. 645, §21, 62 Stat. 862.

§1985. Conspiracy to interfere with civil rights

(1) Preventing officer from performing duties

If two or more persons in any State or Territory conspire to prevent, by force, intimidation, or threat, any person from accepting or holding any office, trust, or place of confidence under the United States, or from discharging any duties thereof; or to induce by like means any officer of the United States to leave any State, district, or place, where his duties as an officer are required to be performed, or to injure him in his person or property on account of his lawful discharge of the duties of his office, or while engaged in the lawful discharge thereof, or to injure his property so as to molest, interrupt, hinder, or impede him in the discharge of his official duties;

(2) Obstructing justice; intimidating party, witness, or juror

If two or more persons in any State or Territory conspire to deter, by force, intimidation, or threat, any party or witness in any court of the United States from attending such court, or from testifying to any matter pending therein, freely, fully, and truthfully, or to injure such party or witness in his person or property on account of his having so attended or testified, or to influence the verdict, presentment, or indictment of any grand or petit juror in any such court, or to injure such juror in his person or property on account of any verdict, presentment, or indictment lawfully assented to by him, or of his being or having been such juror; or if two or more persons conspire for the purpose of impeding, hindering, obstructing, or defeating, in any manner, the due course of justice in any State or Territory, with intent to deny to any citizen the equal protection of the laws, or to injure him or his property for lawfully enforcing, or attempting to enforce, the right of any person, or class of persons, to the equal protection of the laws;

(3) Depriving persons of rights or privileges

If two or more persons in any State or Territory conspire or go in disguise on the highway or on the premises of another, for the purpose of depriving, either directly or indirectly, any person or class of persons of the equal protection of the laws, or of equal privileges and immunities under the laws; or for the purpose of preventing or hindering the constituted authorities of any State or Territory from giving or securing to all persons within such State or Territory the equal protection of the laws; or if two or more persons conspire to prevent by force, intimidation, or threat, any citizen who is lawfully entitled to vote, from giving his support or advocacy in a legal manner, toward or in favor of the election of any lawfully qualified person as an elector for President or Vice President, or as a Member of Congress of the United States; or to injure any citizen in person or property on account of such support or advocacy; in any case of conspiracy set forth in this section, if one or more persons engaged therein do, or cause to be done, any act in furtherance of the object of such conspiracy, whereby another is injured in his person or property, or deprived of having and exercising any right or privilege of a citizen of the United States, the party so injured or deprived may have an action for the recovery of damages occasioned by such injury or deprivation, against any one or more of the conspirators.

(R.S. §1980.)

Codification

R.S. §1980 derived from acts July 31, 1861, ch. 33, 12 Stat. 284; Apr. 20, 1871, ch. 22, §2, 17 Stat. 13.

Section was formerly classified to section 47 of Title 8, Aliens and Nationality.

§1986. Action for neglect to prevent

Every person who, having knowledge that any of the wrongs conspired to be done, and mentioned in section 1985 of this title, are about to be committed, and having power to prevent or aid in preventing the commission of the same, neglects or refuses so to do, if such wrongful act be committed, shall be liable to the party injured, or his legal representatives, for all damages caused by such wrongful act, which such person by reasonable diligence could have prevented; and such damages may be recovered in an action on the case; and any number of persons guilty of such wrongful neglect or refusal may be joined as defendants in the action; and if the death of any party be caused by any such wrongful act and neglect, the legal representatives of the deceased shall have such action therefor, and may recover not exceeding $5,000 damages therein, for the benefit of the widow of the deceased, if there be one, and if there be no widow, then for the benefit of the next of kin of the deceased. But no action under the provisions of this section shall be sustained which is not commenced within one year after the cause of action has accrued.

(R.S. §1981.)

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