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Sunday, February 1, 2009

When Police Officers Lie

Legal System Struggles With How to React When Police Officers Lie
The Wall Street Journal by AMIR EFRATI -  January 29, 2009

It's one of the most common accusations by defendants and defense attorneys -- that police officers don't tell the truth on the witness stand. Of course, defendants themselves can be the ones lying, but the problem of police perjury -- and what can be done about it -- is being debated anew. Fueling the discussion are recent court cases in New York City and Boston that indicated officers may have lied and a U.S. Supreme Court ruling this month that could have broader implications for cases in which improperly obtained evidence is in dispute.

Questionable testimony by police comes up most often in firearm- or drug-possession cases in which officers often testify that a defendant had a bulge in his pocket -- which they thought might be a gun -- or dropped drugs in plain sight as they approached him, giving the officers the right to seize the contraband. Defense lawyers say in many of these cases, officers are "testilying" and that the guns or drugs were actually discovered when their clients were unjustly frisked by officers. They also say testilying frequently occurs in more serious cases. In Boston, a federal judge last week ruled that a police officer there falsely testified at a pretrial hearing in a gun-possession case about the circumstances of the defendant's arrest. The judge, Mark Wolf, is considering sanctions against the prosecutor for not immediately disclosing that the officer's testimony contradicted what he told prosecutors beforehand.

A federal judge in Brooklyn, N.Y., last fall ruled that a U.S. marshal and a New York City police officer lied when they testified that a defendant dropped two bags of drugs in front of them and then invited the officers to his apartment, where he revealed a large cache of cocaine. Though few officers will confess to lying -- after all, it's a crime -- work by researchers and a 1990s commission appointed to examine police corruption shows there's a tacit agreement among many officers that lying about how evidence is seized keeps criminals off the street. To stem the problem, some criminal-justice researchers and academic experts have called for doing polygraphs on officers who take the stand or requiring officers to tape their searches.

A Supreme Court ruling this month, however, suggests that a simpler, though controversial, solution may be to weaken a longstanding part of U.S. law, known as the exclusionary rule. The 5-4 ruling in Herring v. U.S. that evidence obtained from certain unlawful arrests may nevertheless be used against a criminal defendant could indicate the U.S. is inching closer to a system in which officers might not be tempted to lie to prevent evidence from being thrown out. Criminal-justice researchers say it's difficult to quantify how often perjury is being committed. According to a 1992 survey, prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges in Chicago said they thought that, on average, perjury by police occurs 20% of the time in which defendants claim evidence was illegally seized. "It is an open secret long shared by prosecutors, defense lawyers and judges that perjury is widespread among law enforcement officers," though it's difficult to detect in specific cases, said Alex Kozinski, a federal appeals-court judge, in the 1990s. That's because the exclusionary rule "sets up a great incentive for...police to lie."

Police officers don't necessarily agree, says Eugene O'Donnell, a former police officer and prosecutor who teaches law and police studies in New York. "Perjury is endemic in the court system, but officers lie less than defendants do because generally they aren't heavily invested in the outcome of the cases," he says. Testilying may have taken off after a 1961 Supreme Court decision boosted the exclusionary rule by requiring state courts to exclude -- or throw out -- some evidence seized in illegal searches, such as when police frisk people without probable cause or search a residence without a warrant. Immediately after the decision, Mapp v. Ohio, studies showed that the number of annual drug arrests in the U.S. -- most cases are prosecuted in state court -- didn't change much but there was a sharp increase in officers claiming that suspects dropped drugs on the ground. "Either drug users were suddenly dropping bags all over the place or the cops were still frisking but saying the guy dropped the drugs," says John Kleinig, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

This month's Supreme Court decision added an exception to the exclusionary rule by holding that the prosecution of an Alabama man for drug- and firearm-possession charges was valid, even though the contraband was found after the man was wrongly arrested and searched. Police officers had mistakenly thought he was subject to an arrest warrant. Throwing out evidence because of wrongful searches and arrests "is not an individual right and applies only where its deterrent effect outweighs the substantial cost of letting guilty and possibly dangerous defendants go free," wrote Chief Justice John Roberts. Civil liberties advocates and defense lawyers say losing the exclusionary rule would harm the public. "We'd risk far greater invasions of privacy because officers would have carte blanche to do outrageous activity and act on hunches all the time," says JaneAnne Murray, a criminal defense lawyer in New York. Write to Amir Efrati at amir.efrati@wsj.com

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

i was just in court the judge was just preaching the bibile the cop lied on the stand i was found guilty and have to pay a fine of 748 dollers or go to jail and all i make is 604 a month and have to pay bills but the judge did not care that i am disabiled this country has gone to hell my rights were never read to me and the judge said they dont have to read my rights what kind of country has this turned out to be all this as my little brother puts his butt on the line in the army fighting a war were we dont even know how to win it

Anonymous said...

In 2003, cops broke through my locked apartment door posted with a civil rent due notice without a warrant and arrested me for trespass. For good measure they added 'Battering an officer', and taping their conversations without their permission(felony in Florida).

The intake Judge didn't think twice about putting my son and I in jail for 2 months. Actually, it is obvious that he didn't even think once about it. When my public pretender told me to plead not guilty and say nothing more, she did not even bother to tell me what my charges were, or let me see the police report.

When I presented taped conversations of police trying to collect rent to my paid criminal lawyer several days prior to my arrest, provided him with copies of rent checks and the Rent due notice, He filed to be removed as my counsel, kept the $1500 fee, and wrote me a letter that I was obviously guilty and stupid if I thought I had a civil case against the cops.

The Prosecutor, upon receipt of my material immediately forged some court documents so certain charges would not see court, and nolle prossed the minor charges. It appears that my attorney colluded with the prosecutor to terminate the trial against my wishes and interest, and cover up the evidence against the cops.

When trying to prosecute the civil case against the landlord, the tale gets more twisted and sorted.

Part of a police complaint against the police department can be seen by googling 'Riviera Beach Harris', and reviewing the HARRIS COMPLAINT. Googling 'RIVIERA BEACH FBI RAID' will give you a video that hopefully is the result (6 years late) of the FBI response to the corruption rampant in Florida Law Enforcement, and Judicial System. All Complaints to the Florida Bar (9)were summarily ignored and dismissed, as was many letters to the Justice Department (although the original stooge obstructing my complaints may have been replaced, and later complaints outlining Prosecutor misconduct may be finally getting some traction). It would appear there is a shift in politics occurring that may expose the old parties corruption.

Laser said...

We have over 100 felony violations ,confessions to 34 acts of Perjury and 22 separate overt acts of Obstruction/corruption by Judges - US Attorneys - and US Trustee's in the case of eToys.

All blatantly and flagrantly within the Public Docket Record.

No one gives a damn!

the WSJ is a tool for Bain and Goldman Sachs

Sincerely
Laser the Liquidator (Haas)
www.petters-fraud.com

Anonymous said...

Out goes the exclusionary rule for the conviences of the courts. Now lets just legalized, drugs, prostitution and murder just to convieneance the corrections department. Better yet, lets legalize bribes to judges. The problem doesnt go away because its been legalized. Technology is becoming ever more compact....put the video cameras on the police. Bet good cases go to trial and falsified cases become non-existant. I had a few bad run-ins w/ police that reinforce my belief in keeping the burdon of proof on the police.

Taras_Ukrainian said...

i was wrongfully impounded by Washington State Patrol trooper Dustin Drout Badge# 433. Today 01/14/11 i had court to get impound fee back and he came out and lied Under Oath about my distance from DNR Gate which i hunt. i was at least 10 yards from gate out of way BUT he, the dirt bag that he is said i was less then 15ft from it.
i heard about Pigs lying under oath BUT i finally experienced it personally.

Anonymous said...

CHP Officer lied in writting a ticket, filling the ticket, upheld by Santa Ana trial and appeals court, providing substandard justice to collect $. The officer loves to ticket silver cars and he is proud of this record. The officer can see two moving objects simultaneously, can change the position of his car in a written testimony that appeals court refused to produce. For a ticket that should call somebody in fullerton court, the trials court and appeals court does not give a damn if officer calls me to Santa ana court. It feels like that the traffic courts are banana republics, and if officer's testimony is everything to them, why have the trials, just fire all the judges, California will save millions and californians will have right to sue cops in small claims court. Seriously, there needs to be done something about the attitude of law enforcement of these corrupt agencies.

Anonymous said...

I was in court for a custody case, I have joint custody with my daughters father who doesn't care about her and he choose to leave to live in costa rica. The judge decides that it is ok for a 3 year old to travel between the US and costa rica for 2 years on 3 month intervals. As in she would be with me for three months and then with her father, then back n forth until she was 5. The law guardian for my daughter Diane Somberg lied the entire time she was there, saying I was non compliant when I did everythig required by the court. She also said she called me several times and left messages and she never had. The judge believed her. The judge himself I believe is also against the law, how is it a 3 year old is to travel with a woman she doesn't know between the US and costa rica. The woman is the girlfriend to her father but still, they are not married and she doesn't know my daughter and my daughter doesn't know her. The judge, Judge Freudlich, from suffolk county NY, is very insufficient and I believe is getting paid on the side to make certain judgements for people.

Admin said...

Whats the saddest part of the is Police can lie to a suspect during questioning however if a citizen lies to Police they are charged with a crime. I refer to the Casey Anthoney case in Florida where one of her charges is four counts of lying to law enforcement. How is this fair?

Anonymous said...

Here in Greenfield Indiana, I believe that to be a Greenfield police person the frist requirment is to have to lie on every piece of paper they sign there name to. Where you think every aspect of law and underling truth is based on the princple,this nation's laws being based on the truth of the bible and God, the foundation of this nation. Far form the truth is this police department.

Anonymous said...

i was wondering if our or any law enforcement does or does not give dna samples if they dont why not maybe well find somthing we been missing an the same for all them wetbacks we pick up an send back to return agaiv later

Anonymous said...

I have been in a divorce action supreme court suffolk county ny. There is a group of people on the "appointed panels" of law guardians and forensic psychologists lying and earning big bucks to keep the custody issues and financial issues pending- found a long history of a forensic psychologist and at least one Law guardian collaborating to hide childrens complaints of ABUSE -mainly at the hands of the MONIED-SPOUSE.My child has records of telling the law guardian --WHO IS A MANDATED REPORTER TO CPS about abuse by a parent and the law guardian in conjunction with the forensic psychologist went to lengths to hide the report and blame the protective parent for brainwashing the children- to result in awarding an ill equipped parent full custody to continue to abuse the children. The forensic psychologist continued to allow the perpetrator to blame the other parent and EVERYONE who spoke up against the psychologist was labeled "aligned" with the protective parent. Anyone who reported that they were not following her lead was reported to agree with the psychologist when they DID NOT. Testimony was falsified and records were intentionally falsely reported Leaving the oness on the plaintiff to haul EVERYONE in to court to confront the unethical psychologist. The case was dismissed on a technicality to have it refiled.Unspoken reason was that the plaintiff found a history of this same psychologist submitting false resumes as credentials,and analysis of her work to be unethical , and formulating a decision then falsifying testimony to support her false reports.Will probably have to go through the same process again-continung to drag the children through the same thing until they are emancipated. Either way I have had to file complaints with office of professional discipline,grievance committee, judicial misconduct,etc.. Their premise is that divorce records are sealed and that publishing the abuse violates the childrens privacy! As if the children have a right to be abused/and mistreated in private.

Anonymous said...

I have been in a divorce action supreme court suffolk county ny. There is a group of people on the "appointed panels" of law guardians and forensic psychologists lying and earning big bucks to keep the custody issues and financial issues pending- found a long history of a forensic psychologist and at least one Law guardian collaborating to hide childrens complaints of ABUSE -mainly at the hands of the MONIED-SPOUSE.My child has records of telling the law guardian --WHO IS A MANDATED REPORTER TO CPS about abuse by a parent and the law guardian in conjunction with the forensic psychologist went to lengths to hide the report and blame the protective parent for brainwashing the children- to result in awarding an ill equipped parent full custody to continue to abuse the children. The forensic psychologist continued to allow the perpetrator to blame the other parent and EVERYONE who spoke up against the psychologist was labeled "aligned" with the protective parent. Anyone who reported that they were not following her lead was reported to agree with the psychologist when they DID NOT. Testimony was falsified and records were intentionally falsely reported Leaving the oness on the plaintiff to haul EVERYONE in to court to confront the unethical psychologist. The case was dismissed on a technicality to have it refiled.Unspoken reason was that the plaintiff found a history of this same psychologist submitting false resumes as credentials,and analysis of her work to be unethical , and formulating a decision then falsifying testimony to support her false reports.Will probably have to go through the same process again-continung to drag the children through the same thing until they are emancipated. Either way I have had to file complaints with office of professional discipline,grievance committee, judicial misconduct,etc.. Their premise is that divorce records are sealed and that publishing the abuse violates the childrens privacy! As if the children have a right to be abused/and mistreated in private.

Anonymous said...

To Suffolk County anonymous: Judge Freundlich also has a long checkered reputation of also of granting custody/visitation to the monied abusive parent as above comment.You should research and see if any is a documented history.I have tenaciously researched the people involved in my case and am shocked at the amount of documented history of unethical illegal behavior I now have (some is available through freedom of information law, some obtained with permission to use freely).Surprisingly many people who have had experience with these people in the court are very agreeable to prevent this from occurring to others) so go ahead research and I wish you well.

Anonymous said...

Suffolk County N.Y. Jennifer A. Flynn (CAMPBELL)-OFFICER OF THE COURT? Research this persons history. Ask for credentials and VERIFY them

barney of glennallen said...

In 2010 alaska state troopers forced thier way in to my shop jurking the door out of my daughters hand hurting it and making other assults which included pulling a gun and pepper spraying people. when i tried to put an end to it i was arrested for assult the troopers ereased parts of thier recording what they did not want anyone to here i was convicted these people are NAZI's

Anonymous said...

A few years ago a Blount County Sheriff's Department Investigator's girlfriend supposedly killed herself at around 7:00am while sitting on his bed at his house with his service pistol. There were only a few people that heard about the alleged suicide and the only reason they heard anything is because they lived in the same neighborhood and several volunteer firemen were blocking the road telling people that it was "closed" but when 2 of the firemen were asked what had happened they told several people that the Investigator's girlfriend killed herself sitting on his bed with his service pistol when he was in the shower. A LifeSaver helicopter landed behind the Investigators home but it was too late. The woman was dead. There was never any reports of the incident in any local newspaper or news channel and as far as I know other emergency medical personnel on the scene and the Blount County Sheriff's Department, the only people to this day who know about the womans death are the few that were told so by the firemen that day. I strongly feel that this womans death should be investigated by someone other than the Sheriff's Department that the Investigator has been working at for almost 20 years.

debbie clark said...

McCall,Idaho,
my son was held for questioning in the valley county jail.at the time our house was being robbed by drugies,my sone two friends went to jail then later prision,amiting they assulted the guys breaking in.My son stayed in our home protecting his little brothers,he was never charged with anything relating to what happened.But while in jail,he shut a jail door that broke,he was charged with "injury to jail door property "this was in 2002,and a judge named henery bommer,from cascade,idaho, court house that was fired i heard last year for being corrupt along with mccaall's police department .my son Robert Shelton #68344is in the st.anthony,idaho work camp till April of 2013 !!he has never had hard charges,no violence,but a porole violation for disturbing the peace,in mccall, idaho,when his daughter Mykayla was born living in the apartments ,him and his wife,the baby cried.they both were sited for disturbing the peace.babies cry i thought.As no other of the west coast states even have a charge like that,i fact they cant beleive there is one.At Roberts parole hearing held in Pocatello,idaho,the Judges started to come down on him hard,looked at the charges and ..and with his voice in disbeleif,said ...your in here for injury to jail door property? clearly something was real wrong with the whole picture.How can you catch a judge,judge's off guard with such a stupied charge ?I have called lawyers,if i had 200. dollars a hour to pay one. This is on going from 2002.The law does not work at all.The judge has lost his right to ever work for the goverment again,but my son still sits there,missing his lil girls growing up, for this .If you can help it would be so great.
Debbie Clark
azdebbieandangelplus4make3@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

I have a very disturbing case of a so called police officer/peace officer.I put it this way because there was nothing peaceful about the way i was arrested in st.augistime,florida in st.johns county.I was on a week vacation,visit to the city and had been there three days when a nice vacation turned very wrong and violent at the hands of a former motorcycle cop as so i was told by the officer as he had me in the suburban converted lawenforcement vehicle handcuffed with the cuffs so tight my wrists hurt for two days after being removed.anyway as the officer had me in the back seat with his seat so far back i had to sit on my cuffed hands hurting immencely because i didnt have enough room tosit sideways and had to sit on my hands as the cuffs dug into my hands sharply.I asked several times if he could loosen them some or move the seat up but he said that wa too bad. AS i sat in the back after he asked me several questions he exited the vehicle to talk to another officer or two and all i could hear how he kept bragging to his buddy officer(s) how he had had a good time kicking me in the stomach and when i doubled over kicked me in my lower back.I offered no resistance and was not charged for any kind of resisting arrest with or without violence.I woke on the beach and started to head back to my hotel around five in the afternoon and was stuck in the middle of rush hour traffic and subquently began geing taunted by a silver acura sedan that irradiacally started slamming on brakes and speeding up trying to cause me to collide with the rear of their vehicle and the car behind coming very close several times to hitting my rear tire by a foot or so and was boxed in by the cars to my left as soon as i could get by the car in front of me i passed quickly fear of being hit from behind and then the acura passed me again and started to repeat slowing and speeding up i yhen gunned the throttle passing i felt a life threatining situation as i traveled north i assume that the arresting officer was traveling in the oppisite direction and told me later he clocked me speeding and i assume turned around to pull me over. When i noticed a vehicle with sirens someways back i traveled several blocks but the police vehicle was back quite a ways and when waiting i was almost struck from behind stopping twice as i slowed to turn off the busy street i was on i almost came to a stop to let some bicycles and pedesterians pass at the crosswalk i was about to stop and looked back on the side steet i pulled over on and the suburban looked like it was not stopping attempting to hit me to cause me to yeild i sped up once again to safety at the end of the road where i got off the motorcycle and waited four to five minutes to arrive standing next to my bike,As soon a the officer arrived he pointed his gun at me and told me to get down and i put my hands in the air and went to my neas he then ran up kicked me in the stomach and walked behind kicked my lower back and ribs and attempted to stomp my face into the ground but my helped me from sustaining serious head injury,This officer was clearly out of control and very angry and enjoying it again i offered no resistance .My back and neck ribs all have hurt since months later the case has yet to go to trial!I am disabled and have previous injuries fron a work accident a 35 foot fall ladder broke and got ran over by a student here in gainesville his second time driving.

Anonymous said...

The Sffolk County NY Police are so bad.They invaded my house abducted my teenage son. Told me they were taking him to live with his Dead Beat Dad. Dad is a criminal but he uses his criminality to bribe these Cops.In return for harming my sons. They get paid off by a fraudulent mortgage satisfaction.
These Cops are the highest paid in the county and the most unprofessional, corrupt and protected by our dist. attorney Thomas Spota.
When there is a problem here. The police are likey to be the cause of your problem.Who do you call?

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Anonymous said...

What would a reasonable person think, IF a Federal Judge murders his ill wife, and then commits suicide. Would you want the SYSTEM to look into his recent cases and see if and when he became distraught, and review some of his recent rulings? Or, would you just push it aside and CHERISH his memory with ALL the good he did in his life???

Anonymous said...

Officer Thomas Hanley of the Seattle Police Department is the most crooked and malfeasently corrupt officer I ever came in contact with...and that was years ago!!! I wait to read about him being busted sometime...but it never happens!!! Although a civil suit in the news involving his treachery was dismissed, I and others who have run across him know he was guilty of the accusations. His picture should be inserted in the Dictionary right next to the word sociopath.

Anonymous said...

Officer Jason Donner of City of Salem, Oregon Police Department blatantly lied in the witness stand in order to cover up for his incompetence as an officer.

Anonymous said...

Robert Winters a so called California Corrections Officer with a history of Lying. A few years back a a very close and old friend of mine passed away from cancer. She was divorced from this lying pos. After she passed away this lying pos perjured himself to the social security department to collect his ex wifes benefits for his children. The children were living with their grandmother and step father as my friend was happily remarried. The children didnt live with him for a year after she died. But he collected and spent social security funds that were for the children for that year. The family complained to social security and couldnt get any results. This country is in a sad state of affairs when they cant get this right. And he keeps his job as a peace officer.