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54.1 Civil Rights Violation Lawsuit Filings

Goal 8 - DCC 49 - Indicator 49.1

This indicator is part of Protected civil rights.

Indicator description:

Civil rights are those rights that a nation's inhabitants enjoy by law. In the United States, civil rights are usually thought of in terms of the specific rights guaranteed in the Constitution such as freedom of religion, of speech, and of the press, and the rights to due process of law and to equal protection under the law. Laws guaranteeing civil rights originate at the federal level, either through federal legislation or through federal court decisions, including those handed down by the US Supreme Court. One example of a filing would the allegation of the violation of a citizen's rights under 4th Amendment to the US Constitution, which grants the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, and would be expressed as a civil rights lawsuit against a law enforcement agency or officer for conducting an illegal search. Most lawsuits alleging violation of an individual's civil rights are tried in Federal Court, even if they also violate state or local laws. This indicator notes the number of civil rights lawsuits filed in the State of New Mexico over time, and also the number of civil rights lawsuits filed in New Mexico compared to the contiguous Southwest states, adjusted for population. Differences in the number of civil rights lawsuit filings may reflect the number of civil rights violations occurring in a community, but may also reflect the litigious nature of some communities over others.

Rollover and click the interactive graphs to make comparisons

Why is this indicator relevant?

Adults with at least a high school degree are more likely to be employed and earn more than less educated counterparts. Although this indicator is not a direct measure of the literacy rate, adults with at least a high school equivalency degree are almost certainly literate. What happens in the classroom is only part of the story; family characteristics have from 5-10 times as much impact as school characteristics. Community characteristics have a similar effect on educational achievement as school characteristics.

Data Source:
United States Courts, Federal Court Management Statistics, 2001-2007.

What can we tell from the data?

  • The overall number of civil rights violation cases filed in New Mexico has fallen since 2001.
  • Despite the positive local trend, New Mexico has more than twice the number of cases filed per 100,000 population than any Southwest state, except for Oklahoma, which is 30% lower than New Mexico.


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