We’ve all heard of cases getting continued or even dismissed when an investigating police officer doesn’t show up for court. We know their testimony can be crucial in a prosecutor’s criminal case against someone—so crucial that without it, there’s often no case at all. But, what about when the testimony comes from an officer who was deemed dishonest by a judge, several years ago?
According to the Baltimore Sun and numerous court rulings, the integrity of a police officer is so crucial, that a single case of dishonesty or blundering testimony can haunt them for years to come and potentially affect every case they touch from then on.
One officer, as profiled in this report from the Sun, testified in 2003 as the arresting officer in a drug case. His testimony differed from his written reports and the judge called him out, calling his story “implausible and incredibly presented”. The judge would dismiss the charges.
Now, seven years later, that same officer is still paying for his mistakes. His integrity was called into question in yet another drug case, with the suspected dealer’s defense lawyer questioning his credibility as the arresting officer. The prosecutor, in essence, defended the officer and although the dealer would be convicted, the conviction was overturned on appeal because the prosecutor overstepped his bounds in vouching for the credibility of the officer.
When an entire criminal investigation is based on a police officer’s account of what happened, that officer’s testimony in court is crucial to the state’s case against the suspect. If there’s any suspicion that the cop is less than honest or credible, it’s the defense attorney’s duty to bring this up in court.
On the flip side, the prosecutor cannot vouch for the credibility of the officer. This protects the integrity of the jury and the court proceedings overall. It’s believed if the prosecution is allowed to defend a witness’s credibility the jury might believe their opinion over facts and in criminal trials, the facts are what really matter.
When you are facing criminal charges, it’s the job of your defense attorney to dissect the case against you. This doesn’t only involve studying the police reports but ensuring that what’s presented as evidence against you is done so with respect to your constitutional rights. If a shady officer expects to testify in your case, a defense attorney would be remiss if they neglected to point out their questionable professionalism.
When you’re facing charges, you shouldn’t have to worry about the police officer’s history or their propensity towards telling the truth. Your lawyer can do that for you. If you’re facing charges, contact our offices today for a consultation on your criminal case.