The rantings of a Public Defender constantly fighting against society's pervasive Police Industrial Complex. Enjoy the unique perspective of one whose life's work is to fight the system through the system.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Lying Cops

I've said before that the greatest amount of lying, or dishonesty, among police officers occurs in the offering of "opinion" testimony. The opinion is usually something to the effect of "the defendant's guilty," and they have a bunch of fancy little words that they utter to make it somehow fit within the evidence code.

The testimony is a wholesale license to lie. And today, in my trial, an officer did just that. In this case, I actually had some goods on the cop, but this cop, and so many others, are so dishonest that they make their biases completely obvious just by the way they testify. Here, the detective managed to not understand and need clarification on every question I asked. They all made no sense. They were hard to comprehend, whatever reason he could come up with not to give me a straight answer about the most obvious of things. Yet, when the DA asked him the same questions, magically he understood.

The other infuriating thing is that there are no certainties when a cop gives opinion testimony. One time, his opinion is this, another time it's that, if it fits the case. Here, though, I had him as to one of those opinions. And I had a transcript where he stated explicitely that which I wanted him to say in this case (it helped him in the prior testimony and hurt him in this case). Of course, as I expected, he tried to weasel out of it, said he didn't remember the case, said he wasn't sure, but I got him, and the jury got a look at what a liar he was.

Now, I can only hope that they find my way. I see no reason why they should come back with a guilty verdict, but on the other hand, who knows, maybe they trust this officer. Their case sort of sucks aside from the cops testimony, and I caught him shading his testimony consistently against me, so they probably should disregard what he says, but I really can't say.

Well, I put on my case on Wednesday, and then close on Thursday, and then that's that. We'll just have to see.

Wish me luck.

(does any of this make sense? It's just a stream of consciousness right now in that I'm still pissed off about what happened in court, so I'll make more sense in my next post, after the verdict, when I tell you the whole story).

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