Sarah Schielke, a civil rights attorney and the driving force behind the Life and Liberty Law Office in Colorado, has made significant strides in holding law enforcement accountable for their actions. Her unwavering dedication to her clients and her innovative approach to civil rights litigation have led to groundbreaking settlements and policy changes within police departments nationwide.

Schielke’s journey in the legal field began unconventionally. After graduating from Boston University School of Law, she moved to Colorado and needed work experience or legal connections. Undeterred, she took to Craigslist, offering discount legal services to gain knowledge and build her reputation. This bold move laid the foundation for her future success as a civil rights attorney.

One of Schielke’s most high-profile cases involved Andru Kulas, a Fort Collins man who was pepper-sprayed and arrested after refusing to take a ticket for trespassing. The charges against Kulas were eventually dismissed, but not before he suffered permanent vision damage due to the pepper spray. Schielke filed a federal civil rights lawsuit on behalf of Kulas, naming the City of Fort Collins and the officers involved in the incident. This case highlighted the excessive force often used by law enforcement and the need for greater accountability.

Schielke’s tenacity and commitment to justice have been a constant throughout her career. In the case of Harris Elias, who was wrongfully arrested for DUI by the Loveland Police Department despite negative breathalyzer and blood tests, Schielke exposed a department-wide culture that prioritized DUI arrest numbers over the rights of individuals. Her efforts led to a $400,000 settlement for Elias and the resignation of the arresting officer, sending a powerful message about the consequences of police misconduct.

Her peers and the wider community have recognized Schielke’s impact on the civil rights landscape in Colorado. In 2023, she was named one of USA Today’s Women of the Year, a testament to her tireless efforts to bring about change in her field. Her new office building, funded by the settlements she has won against police departments, serves as a reminder of her work’s tangible impact on the lives of her clients and the broader fight for civil rights reform.

As Schielke continues to take on challenging cases and expose injustice within law enforcement, her influence on Colorado’s legal system grows. Her unique approach to civil rights litigation, which often involves releasing body camera footage to the public, has proven effective in garnering support for her clients and bringing about meaningful change.

Schielke’s background in psychology and commitment to ongoing learning have been instrumental in her success as a civil rights attorney. She regularly lectures and presents on DUI defense strategy nationwide, sharing her expertise with fellow attorneys and advocating for reform within the legal system.

For those who have been victims of police misconduct, Sarah Schielke represents a beacon of hope. Her unwavering dedication to her clients and her fearless approach to taking on powerful institutions have made her a formidable force in the fight for civil rights. As she continues to pave the way for reform and accountability within Colorado’s legal system, Schielke’s impact will undoubtedly be felt for generations.

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