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Old April 30, 2012, 03:34 PM   #26
briandg
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You should do all of that at any crime scene to defend against inaccuracy.

My wife gets so upset sometimes. When our daughter was a teenager, there were times that police were in the home. Any time my daughter became unstable, my wife would start cleaning the house. Washing dishes, vacuuming, etc. She's afraid of going to bed with an untidy kitchen, in case there is an overnight break in, and the police put down in the report that "the place was filthy and the homeowners deserved to be shot in their sleep."

the whole intent of the post was to remind people that no matter how clear the case is, you can still wind up with all of the recorded data being corrupted and having to face bad information in court.
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Old April 30, 2012, 06:13 PM   #27
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Don't feel bad at least the officer did an investigation. On Saturday sometime between 10 AM and 2:30 PM someone rammed the driver's door on my pick up. The local police took about 40 minutes to show up and did an initial report. When told about a vehicle that had paint that matched the color of my truck on the bumper and my door had the paint color of their bumper on it, the officer said he doubted that this was the vehicle that hit mine and ran. The local police seem to want to do their jobs only when there is a TV camera around so the officers can make a name for themselves. If there is no camera around they just file the report away and forget about it. Don't get me wrong I'm not bashing police officers (I'm a police officer for a different jurisdiction) but hit and run takes so low a priority with the locals that they really tell people that you can damage someone's property and there are no consequences unless someone else sees you.

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Old April 30, 2012, 06:33 PM   #28
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As a lawyer, I agree; you should indeed fear the legal system. It scares the living heck out of me nearly every day, and I'm not even on the receiving end.

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A judge, and even the jury itself, should be able to ask questions if they feel there are relevant issues or viewpoints that are not being presented properly to the jury.
In Indiana, the jury can ask witnesses questions, and they often do. I am regularly impressed by them... when they don't write out the questions in "text-speak", anyway.
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Old May 1, 2012, 06:11 AM   #29
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Quote:
Back to motor vehicle accidents: Several years ago I was working late one night and I went to a small restaurant in a nearby strip mall for dinner. As I was returning to my car, I heard a loud engine noise and I turned in that direction. The traffic aisles were convoluted. There was a young woman unparking her car near me. I WATCHED as she carefully looked in both directions before starting to back up. Then some doper in a souped-up heap came screeching around a corner and slammed into her. She never saw him coming, and he was moving so fast that I had no time to warn her.

So the police were called. I waited, and I approached the investigating officer to inform him that I was a witness and I would give him a statement as to what happened.

"We don't need your statement. It's obvious what happened. The chick backed into the other guy."
This happened to my father in law. The guy that hit him even said to the police, I was going to fast I wasn't looking and I hit him. Did not matter, my father in law was still considered the party at fault. Sort of like getting rear-ended it is almost impossible to be found liable if you are rear-ended. I suspect in your state the girl was going to be found liable no matter what and the cop just wanted to save himself a lot of time.
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Old May 1, 2012, 08:23 AM   #30
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Anyone who doesn't fear our legal system just hasn't been around any courtrooms or for that matter, they've been asleep for the last couple decades.

There have been some very high profile/publicized cases in which the accused walked with overwhelming evidence against them. Too, during court proceedings, due to some kind of crazy technicality, very pertinent information regarding the cases was legally withheld. O.J. Simpson and Casey Anthony cases come to mind.

I once sit in on a deposition in which one of the lawyers made a sarcastic, off record comment as to having a 'slam dunk' case. The opposing attorney looked across the table, smiled and said, " competent counsel knows those don't exist".

The opposing attorney's comment summed things up nicely.
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Old May 1, 2012, 11:28 AM   #31
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You all make it sound like justice is never served, the guilty always go free and the innocent are punished. Is that what you are saying or implying?
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Old May 1, 2012, 12:12 PM   #32
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You all make it sound like justice is never served, the guilty always go free and the innocent are punished. Is that what you are saying or implying?
As far as my posts goes, I'm sorry if I made it sound that way. Was not my intentions.

What I am saying/implying is that if I find myself in a horrible situation of having to defend my(or family members) life with deadly force, even though I may be 100% justified in my actions, by no means am I guaranteed not to go to prison.

The steps I would take if found in this situation would be to shut up, hire the best counsel I could find specializing in this field and most important of all, pray like my life depended on it. It does.

I don't believe this to be the norm but there are innocent people sitting in jail and guilty people walking the street for no more reason then a small technicality during the investigative or court proceedings. It happens. Just don't want it to happen to me.

FWIW, we may have the best judicial system of any country but the older I get and more I see, the less confidence I have in it.
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Old May 1, 2012, 12:26 PM   #33
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The problem as i see it is quite often prosecutors deem every shoot by non police to be unlawful regardless of circumstances. Now I must say for where I live that isnt always the case but I can certainly find it easy to believe that some states and counties will charge anyone for murder or a lesser charge no matter how innocent the evidence may show the shoot to be.

To me it seems to be a way the system (in areas) tries to enforce a kind of gun control through prosecution.
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Old May 1, 2012, 01:28 PM   #34
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It is funny to hear comments about the innocent sitting in jail because of some technicality when what you usually hear is the guilty out walking the streets because of some technicality. I guess sometimes we can have it both ways, huh?

I still haven't heard any suggestions as to how the judicial system could be improved and of course, every town, city, county, state and federal has a separate system.
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Old May 1, 2012, 02:49 PM   #35
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I still haven't heard any suggestions as to how the judicial system could be improved and of course, every town, city, county, state and federal has a separate system.
Actually I made a suggestion a couple of post ago on this thread. Audit, Audit, Audit
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Old May 1, 2012, 03:23 PM   #36
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No offense, Mr Gutzman, but your suggestions amount to tinkering of the system, although I have no suggestions at all myself. The funny thing is, the judicial system is supposed to be the check on the other parts of the government. In a sense, there is already a system in place to deal with faults in judicial proceeding. It's the appeals system but I guess it comes with the same faults that lower courts sometimes have. Of course, it is also worth mentioning that cases of child custody and support payments, as well as suits involving traffic accidents lie outside the criminal courts. That is not to say you couldn't be charged with a crime in connection with any of those.

There are certainly a lot of things wrong with the courts but they are reflective, I think, of the larger society. The system favors the rich, for one thing. Who you are, generally speaking, makes a big difference in how things work. Another is that the judicial system and law enforcement in general is bogged down with a lot of laws. In other words, there are a lot of things against the law, things that do not seem to be illegal in other countries. At the same time, other countries are sometimes rather harsher in punishment, but we're catching up in that regard, if what one reads on the internet is true about grade school kids being taken out of school in handcuffs.

But we're not supposed believe everything we read, are we?
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Old May 1, 2012, 03:34 PM   #37
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Any system run by humans is going to be subject to the faults of the humans in it. Why would I expect the justice system to operate any better than any other branch of the govt? Only you and yours have any interest in what's fair for you.
CYA & know the number to a good attorney.
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Old May 1, 2012, 05:34 PM   #38
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The point to observe is that the way to win the game is to not play it. If you have to play it, don't throw away your greatest advantage, and that is the ability to present in court to the jurors as innocent of wrongdoing.

The one time I went to municipal court, most of the people there looked like they were swept out of a mission. A guy there regarding an assault charge was wearing a "wifebeater" shirt. There are times and places and situations where a person simply must rein in his needs to express himself and do what he chooses to do. I better leave it at that.
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Old May 1, 2012, 06:00 PM   #39
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Quote:
But we're not supposed believe everything we read, are we?
No we're not.

Too, only half of what we see.

Quote:
The funny thing is, the judicial system is supposed to be the check on the other parts of the government.
Agree, but with murders being committed with weapons being furnished/ok'd by our government in situations such as 'Fast and Furious', then nobody being held accountable and prosecuted, not even a decent investigation, kinda puts putting blind faith in our present system out the window for me. Heck, there has been a bigger 'ado' made of the CIA members picking up hookers in Columbia then there was about Fast and Furious. Of course Obama gave orders for the CIA/hooker investigation...hmmm...wonder why he wasn't/isn't as adamant about an investigation that killed two of our agents while they were doing their jobs as he was about CIA member gratifying their sexual desires on their own time.

Again, not the kinda system I feel comfortable blindly entrusting my life to.

As far as the U.S. catching up with the harsher penalties that other countries have for crimes, I just don't see any proof of that. Far as that goes, I see the opposite happening.

Quote:
The system favors the rich, for one thing. Who you are, generally speaking, makes a big difference in how things work.
Unfortunately, this I have to agree with.

Last edited by shortwave; May 1, 2012 at 06:21 PM.
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Old May 1, 2012, 08:24 PM   #40
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My legal issues, "eye witnesses", events....

I, too, can understand the forum member's issues & feelings about the criminal justice system/witnesses.
In March 2012, I saw a local street person-vagrant trespass onto the property where I live in the unit next to me. I contacted the front office and made the agent on duty of the incident. The property's security officer was not on duty and the street person was widely known by myself & other residents to be hostile/aggressive.
I contacted my local PD's non-emergency help line and requested an officer to come & issue a trespass notice to the unauthorized visitor. I then contacted the property's owner/general manager to brief him on the events and to inform him that I contacted the police to remove the male subject.
When the 2 police officers arrived, the senior officer(who I knew from previous incidents as a security officer) started screaming at me and calling me names.
The younger police officer(who I think may have been in field training status) was shocked by the older officer's conduct.
I stayed calm and informed the irrate police officer that I would file a professional standards complaint due to his insults & misconduct.
The police officer then flew into a rage & placed me under arrest for "disorderly conduct" and "making a false 911 call". I was handcuffed & transported to the county jail. I later pled; NOT GUILTY to all charges & explained to my legal counsel that I NEVER called 911 and the call(s) I made on my cell phone were recorded by the city's PD/call center. The police officers also claimed the office agent said he told me NOT to call; 911(that never happened & was a total lie).
In Apr/2012, I was informed that the city prosecutor declined to press charges and the entire case was closed.
I'm now looking into civil actions and plan to file internal affairs complaints against both officers. They lied repeatedly in the court documents and provided false information. I may contact the local media(print & TV) too.

The lessons I learned were; be ready for witnesses(even people you'd think would be fair & honest) to lie, be able to prove/document your statements & actions in an incident. Law enforcement officers or "witnesses" can't lie or distort things like phone records, digital pics, DV(digital video), etc. Stay calm and avoid profanity or being emotional. That will only make you look worse later on.
It's unfortunate that these events occur in this modern era but that's the reality today.
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Old May 2, 2012, 07:20 PM   #41
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There's a huge difference between "corruption" and "incompetence".

Mostly these incidents here fall under the category of "incompetence" or "malfeasance" or "misconduct".

As a cop, I can't stand it when the cops don't do their job. I pride myself on being professional and having good attention to detail and cops who are sloppy and cut corners or who are unprofessional in dealing with people drive me crazy.

Several times in my police career I've responded to assist other agencies and actually had witnesses come up to me and offer to give me a statement (once at a drive by shooting, once at a shooting outside a night club, and once at a major injury MV accident) and I couldn't find anybody from the primary agency interested in talking to the witnesses (!!)

So I took a statement, wrote a report like I should, faxed copies of my report over so it could go into the case files, and then made a few phone calls to supervisors over there that I knew. The last time that happened (the MV accident, which I think was in the fall of '01) I even sent an email direct to the Chief of the other agency to bring his attention to the problem.

My Chief was REALLY mad at me over that. I never got a response from the other chief, but I do know that he raised hell in a staff meeting and a few people got tuned up.

If the cops don't do their job, then sometimes you have to fight the battle. If you have a LEGITIMATE complaint, then deal with it. I've had to do that a few times with officers from agencies I worked for, with guys I worked with, because there were problems. Didn't make me real popular there for a while, but you always have to do the right thing. And I must say, these weren't guys who were corrupt or racist or brutal. But a few of them were sloppy, and one of them just could NOT talk to people properly if the situation was at all stressful and he needed an attitude adjustment. It wasn't that he was a jerk -- he just got overloaded way too easily under stress.

(He later went to a nearby agency and ultimately became a detective and I understand he's pretty good at it. Who'da thought?)

At various times we had a few young, enthusiastic (and ignorant) cops "scanner chasing" and jumping calls in a bigger and more active neighboring jurisdiction. To the point that they were getting in the way, being mildly tactically unsafe, and creating justified hard feelings with the other police department. But the officers from the other agency involved were reluctant to complain, because they didn't want to start a war, and my supervisor at the time wouldn't take action without a formal complaint to work with. So we actually had to solicit a complaint from the other agency about our guys to get any corrective action applied. So we did. Learning occurred. I always address the issue when field training new cops, but sometimes cops desire to be in on the action gets in the way of their common sense . . .

My point is, if you have a valid complaint of substance, it's best for everybody if you push it a little. Quite possibily some of the other cops will appreciate it, too . . . but that also depends on the situation where YOU are and whether or not the agency will actually pay attention. Some agencies disregard all complaints, and others over react . . .
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Old May 2, 2012, 07:31 PM   #42
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and a couple of other good ideas

Tyme said: "I would love to see more moderation in the adversarial system. Make the judge and jury an inquisitor of sorts, empowered to ask directed questions to the parties involved in a lawsuit or criminal case, although in a criminal case the defense doesn't have to answer and can still assert the 5th amendment. A judge, and even the jury itself, should be able to ask questions if they feel there are relevant issues or viewpoints that are not being presented properly to the jury."

ABSOLUTELY!! One of my instructors in college was a retired FBI agent. In class one day he discussed the French system of the examining magistrate, how they are involved in criminal investigations, and can actually ask questions during the trial. Ever since that idea has been in the back of my mind as an interesting concept.

BGutzman suggestion some kind of random quality control check to see if cops were actually doing their job correctly. I've thought about that concept for the last few years as well.

The other day I talked to a union rep for another agency in my county. He stated that they had several officers who generated a large number of citizen complaints and management's response was to require the officers to wear one of those little video cameras and a wire, and record all their contacts with the public for review by their supervisor. They identified one officer who (once again) didn't function well under pressure, and another guy who just had a short fuse and got frustrated easily. So some kind of remedial action is taking place.

In the military every year they do annual testing to make sure that you can properly perform certain job related duties. The Army calls it "common task testing" and the Air Force calls it "quality control testing". I always thought that might be a good idea for civilian police. Make somebody demonstrate proficiency in accident investigation, handling some disturbance scenarios (with a report), and in field sobriety testing. In my state we do that with the police recruits -- they get evaluated in scenario testing during the last week of the police academy. I think that would be a useful thing to do with serving LEOs, AS LONG AS the process was conducted and evaluated fairly.
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Old May 2, 2012, 08:48 PM   #43
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Training & supervision...

As I posted in other topics, the main issues are training & supervision.
Sheriffs, Police Chiefs, SACs(Special Agents in Charge), etc always say; we need to be informed of any problems/complaints.
That's true but they need to be responsive to these valid complaints or problems too. Not just ignore these "citizens in crisis".
I heard a media story today of a young college student in the San Diego area who was detained in a DEA field office bldg for 5 days w/o food, water, etc. 5 days! The young man was in an ICU for 2 days & has severe kidney damage due to the ordeal. He's now going to sue the DEA. The federal agents never charged or arrested him either.

Fraud, waste & abuse is not tolerated in any private sector industry and it shouldn't be tolerated in LE agencies.

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Old May 3, 2012, 08:59 AM   #44
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Charged with a Felony

When I was younger I was charged with a felony. I had returned to my base, in another state and my grandmother called me, informing I was going to be charged with a felony.

I contacted a Sgt that was a family friend and he informed me that I was indeed going to be charged. When I talked to him, he read me my rights (I was a young, military cop at the time) and I figured I had done nothing wrong, so I talked with him. Told him the truth, were things had happened, how they had happened and who had witnessed it.

Witnesses backed everything up that I admitted to (Of course he had already talked to a few of them, I found out afterwards). I was released on bail and returned to my duty station.

About a month later, I found out they were going to pursue the situation and I appeared in court. The smartest thing I did was listen to the judge who advised me, very strongly, to get a lawyer.

I pray I am never involved in any type of shooting, but I do know if I am, one of the first things I am going to do is request a lawyer.

After I obtained a lawyer, he was not happy. Something he told me and I have always remembered: When questioned by the police, deny everything, admit nothing and ALWAYS have a lawyer present.

Years later I remember this advise and still use it, even though I have many friends in the LEO community. We have a family/business lawyer we use and he has continued to give us sound advise.
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Old May 3, 2012, 12:24 PM   #45
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You wish that fraud, waste and abuse were not tolerated in private companies!

I think one factor that is operative here is in the nature of people to protect their group. You see it everywhere. Someone has to do something pretty bad to be ostracized and most of the time, that's about the limit to what can happen. If something really criminal is discovered, however, they probably won't last until the sun goes down. But for less serious behavior, it is covered up, swept under the rug, ignored, excused, explained away or whatever. People are not so much protecting the presumably (without a trial) guilty party so much as they are protecting themselves and the group they are a member of. There's a lot more to it than that but that's the gist of it.
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Old May 3, 2012, 12:56 PM   #46
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Quote:
There's a lot more to it than that but that's the gist of it.
You said a mouthful of truth their my friend!

The 'code of silence' when wrongdoings are going on, can be, and often is, much more harmful then helpful when it comes to LE.
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Old May 3, 2012, 09:44 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Buck
When questioned by the police, deny everything, admit nothing and ALWAYS have a lawyer present.
I can't tell if you mixed them up on purpose, but, "admit nothing, deny everything, make counter-accusations" is to the best of my knowledge a slogan on some swag that was cooked up by a few contra-era spooks. See these articles for details:
http://www.nytimes.com/1987/06/12/us...te-to-cia.html
http://www.weeklystandard.com/print/...4/278vjcro.asp
The slogan was also co-opted, and this is where I saw it first in the early 2000's, on some shirts printed up by a central american vacation/expedition outfit, which may or may not have had ex-contra people helping out, or maybe they just saw the slogan and liked it.

In the legal system, "admit nothing" is a good first principle, insofar as it means shut your mouth, but "deny everything" can get you into trouble. When a matter is serious enough to get a lawyer, assert your 5th amendment privilege and let your lawyer speak for you.
Don't Talk to the Police (in defense of the 5th Amendment) by James Duane, Regent Univ Law School
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Old May 4, 2012, 12:07 AM   #48
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Too much to respond to but I have to respond to this:
Quote:
When questioned by the police, deny everything, admit nothing and ALWAYS have a lawyer present.
NO, NO, NO! It sounds cute, but it's bad legal advice. Just assert your right to remain silent, request an attorney, and leave it at that. When you start "denying everything" then the lies you've told will come back to haunt you if it is a serious law enforcement manner. Your silence can sometimes be used against you if you haven't invoked your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. It's called an adoptive admission. http://definitions.uslegal.com/a/adoptive-admission/
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