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Illinois Excessive Force Defense Lawyers

Some of the most widely publicized police misconduct cases allege the use of excessive force. Many of these cases have been handled by The Sotos Law Firm because our Chicago area excessive force defense attorneys have a reputation among the toughest defenders of law enforcement professionals in the business.

These cases often involve public opinion as much as fact and our lawyers know how to manage the message while getting to the root of the claim. We understand how tough it is to do your job on a good day, let alone when circumstances arise requiring the use of force to protect yourself, the general public or even individuals from themselves. And that all too often decisions regarding the use of force need to be made in the blink of an eye.

Illinois Police Misconduct Attorneys

In police brutality defense cases involving serious physical injury or death, the question is often whether the use of force was reasonable under the circumstances. Those circumstances often require an aggressive response from law enforcement. For example, in one case our attorneys tried in 2011, Livingston v. McDevitt, No. 09 C 7725, the jury found the officers not guilty of excessive force in connection with the orbital fracture the plaintiff received while fleeing a police pursuit. In another case we recently tried, McCann v. Nielsen, the jury found that a police officer acted justifiably in shooting an assailant in the chest after it appeared to the officer that the man was about to attack him with a spiked object.

Most excessive force cases can be won once a careful review of the incident reveals that a reasonable, even aggressive use of force, was necessary, often because the officer had to make a split-second decision to respond to a dangerous confrontation. We are also experts in identifying excessive force cases which need to be promptly resolved without a trial where it appears that, in the heat of the moment, an officer's use of force may have crossed the line between reasonable and unreasonable. It's difficult for someone who does not put his or her life on the line every day to comprehend the actions required and the training involved in making decisions under such extreme stress. We take pride in our ability to educate juries about the realities of police work in a way which has resulted in our unmatched record of success at trial in excessive force lawsuits.

You Protect Us, Let Us Protect You

Contact The Sotos Law Firm for an experienced law firm with a well-earned reputation as fierce defenders of the rights of Illinois law enforcement professionals. We offer free, no-obligation initial consultations.

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What does it mean to have The Sotos Law Firm represent your case? View our past case results page to learn more.



The firm is led by James Sotos, who possesses over twenty-five years of experience representing public and private sector clients in federal and state litigation at the trial and appellate levels. During that time, Jim has distinguished himself as one of a handful of attorneys who has argued two cases in the United States Supreme Court, and he has achieved an enviable rate of success in the arena of Illinois governmental litigation. Jim enjoys Lexis-Nexis, Martindale-Hubbell's preeminent AV peer review rating and has been recognized both as an "Illinois Super Lawyer" by "Law and Politics" and the publishers of Chicago Magazine and as an Illinois Leading Lawyer by the Law Bulletin Publishing Company. Jim also lectures and publishes frequently on government liability and ethics and writes the weekly column "In Federal Courts" for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.

Jeffrey N. Given

Jeff began his legal career at Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago where he engaged in commercial and constitutional litigation. Jeff left Kirkland to establish a successful entrepreneurial business before returning to the practice of law at the City of Chicago Law Department. Jeff served seven of his ten years at the Law Department as the Chief Assistant responsible for managing all aspects of the City's representation in litigation alleging misconduct by the Chicago Police Department. Jeff graduated cum laude from Indiana University Law School in Bloomington, Indiana in 1983. During law school, Jeff was selected for law review and was awarded the ABA Annual Award for best performances in Land Use and Local Government law courses. Jeff graduated cum laude with distinction in major from Carleton College in 1978 where he earned a bachelor's degree in American Studies.

Caroline Jamieson Golden

Before joining The Sotos Law Firm, Carrie was a partner at Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg where she worked in the commercial litigation department for seven years. She also brings with her valuable experience from internships at the United States Attorney's Office, Northern District of Illinois and for the Honorable Ann C. Williams, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois. Carrie graduated from DePaul College of Law in Chicago, Illinois in 1992. While in law school, Carrie earned the prestigious position of DePaul Law Review Editor. Carrie's academic excellence in law school earned her membership in the Order of the Coif. She also received American Jurisprudence awards in Procedure and Evidence. Carrie graduated with honors from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois in 1988 with a bachelor's degree in Finance.


John has been representing the interests of law enforcement since 1994, when he started as a law clerk with the Office of the Legal Advisor for the Boston Police Department. John is a 1996 graduate of Suffolk University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts, after having been accepted as a third year visiting student by Chicago-Kent College of Law. After graduation, John worked with Russell Hartigan & Associates in Chicago where he engaged in municipal, civil rights, and insurance defense, having successfully tried several cases to verdict. After working with two other attorneys from Hartigan & Associates for a short time in a start up firm, John joined Jim Sotos in 2000. John has been a regular presenter on liability risk issues for the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police since 2009, and recently lectured on the topic of recent trends in qualified immunity at the Illinois Midwest Police and Security Expo held in Peoria, Illinois in August, 2011. John is also a 1993 graduate of DePaul University College of Commerce, where he earned a bachelor's degree in Economics.