Criminal defense attorneys often have the disconcerting and maddening experience of knowing a testifying police officer is either mis-characterizing or misremembering an incident or outright lying. More often than not, the police officer doesn’t have an independent memory of the event. After all, an officer often makes hundreds of arrests in a year. How would they remember any one DUI or drug bust?

It is extremely rare, however, to actually be able to catch an officer in a lie. As smart phones proliferate, those once rare Rodney King moments will likely be more common. The latest scandal involves three separate cases in San Francisco in which video allegedly proves officers perjured themselves. As one judge said, “‘there’s no doubt’ that the latest investigation, coming on the heels of last year’s drug lab scandal, ‘make judges nervous. When you have these same individuals testifying in your court every day, when their testimony is largely based on their credibility, it puts the entire criminal justice system on a fault line.’ Yes, judge, but the criminal justice system has been on the fault line for a long time. This is only the tip of the iceberg.

  1. mcilroylaw posted this