Police Misconduct In A Criminal Case
Police officers are charged with protecting their communities and acting with a high degree of standards, ethics and integrity. And while most of them do just that, there are times when some officers do not live up to these standards, and resort to different forms of misconduct, which can have a large negative impact on society as a whole, as well as on a criminal case. This type of misconduct can lead to wrongful convictions and innocent people spending their life in prison. There is a broad range of actions that can fall under the umbrella of police misconduct, but a few of the most common examples are excessive force, coercive interrogation, illegal searches, and false arrest claims.
Police officers who abuse their power cause great damage, which is why it’s vital to fight for justice in any case involving police misconduct. If you or someone you love is facing criminal charges, and you suspect you have been a victim of police misconduct, we can help you, and may be able to get your charges dropped altogether. Call the Law Offices of William Kroger today to learn more about your rights. Schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys at (323) 655-5700.What Is Police Misconduct?
Police misconduct takes place when an officer who is on duty violates another person’s constitutional rights. We most often hear about police misconduct on the news when it’s in regards to police brutality, but police misconduct can take many forms.Examples of Police Misconduct
Common examples of police misconduct include:
- False Arrest: an arrest that takes place without probable cause or a warrant. This type of arrest is a violation of the Fourth Amendment constitutional right against unreasonable search and seizure.
- Police brutality: police brutality is the use of unnecessary force, including physical violence, verbal assault, or death. The Supreme Court has agreed that police officers have the right to use a certain amount of physical force, as long as it is proportional to the degree of threat.
- Sexual misconduct: this happens when an officer users their power in order to sexually assault or rape a suspect. The uneven power dynamic or potential threats of criminal charges force the victim to comply.
- Racial profiling: this occurs when police target a person solely based on their race, instead of a valid reason.
- Coerced confession: a forced confession obtained by threat or intimidation, or improper persuasion.
- Planted evidence: falsely planting evidence in order to make an arrest is another example of police misconduct. It often happens when a police officer plants drugs on a suspect.
- Witness tampering: this happens when officers try to alter witness testimony by bribes, threats, or other illegal measures.
- Drinking on the job: like in most jobs, drinking is not allowed when on the clock as a police officer. And although it may seem tame compared to the other examples of police misconduct, even small transgressions can have large consequences when it comes to the behavior of police officers, which is why it’s important to keep them accountable for mistakes.
There are numerous ways that police misconduct can affect a criminal case. One of the most important ones, is the ability to throw out illegally obtained evidence. Thanks to something called the exclusionary rule, illegally obtained evidence that violates a person’s constitutional rights can be excluded from evidence as long as a court agrees that it was improperly obtained. And any evidence that is found from the illegally obtained evidence is called “fruit of the poisonous tree ” and falls under the exclusionary rule as well. This law helps ensure that officers obtain evidence in accordance with the law. If you’re facing criminal charges and you think that police officers violated your constitutional rights, you can fight to have the evidence thrown out.Contact A Criminal Defense Attorney
It can be difficult for a citizen to speak out about police misconduct, since they typically would need to report it to the same agency that they are accusing of wrongdoing. But it’s crucial to ensure that officers live up to high standards, and are not treated as if they are above the law. If an officer uses excessive force or makes a false arrest, they need to be held accountable. Police misconduct can have a large effect on the outcome of any given case. For example, you can create reasonable doubt in the minds of a jury if they question the integrity and trustworthiness of the law enforcement who provided it. And an experienced criminal defense attorney can also use police misconduct to get criminal charges dismissed altogether. At times, you can even bring a civil claim against the police department and win financial damages.
We have vast experience handling a variety of criminal cases involving police misconduct. If you believe that you’ve been a victim of police misconduct, you should speak with an attorney right away. Call the Law Offices of William Kroger today at (323) 655-5700 to schedule a free consultation.