Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Police "Expert" Gets His Bluff Called

Our system of justice relies on the faith that, if both sides bring their "A" game, the truth will be revealed. However, it rarely works out that way. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, the adversarial system is the worst form of dispute resolution except all the others that have been tried.

This time the State didn't bring its A game. The State put on a police officer to serve as its expert witness in a meth manufacturing case. It became very clear very soon that the officer wasn't ready for prime time:

"Striker plates are used to get Phosphoric Acid."
"You can use alcohol or HEET - they're different, but they do the same thing - it turns cold pills into a liquid... I don't know if it's a chemical reaction or if it goes into solution- I'm not a chemist."
"I don't know why Sodium Hydroxide is used, I just know its used in meth manufacturing." "No, we didn't find any Sodium Hydroxide."

"I assume they had either made methamphetamine in the past or were going to make it sometime in the future."

"If you have Iodine, Red Phosphorus and Pseudoephedrine, you have a meth lab."
"We found red powder that we believed to be Red Phosphorus - No, we didn't ask the lab to test for Red Phosphorus""
"I know you can make Iodine out of Hydrogen Peroxide but I don't know how - I'm not a chemist."
No, we didn't find any Iodine, Pseudoephedrine or Hydrogen Peroxide."

Motion to Dismiss Sustained.

1) Sometimes the State, with its huge advantages in manpower, money, experts, and influence, squanders those advantages.
2) If you know the law and the facts better than the State and its witnesses do, you can capitalize on the State's errors.
3) Resist that urge to humiliate a cop to tears, no matter how momentarily satisfying - the good ones (i.e. most of them) will remember that you let them off with a warning and appreciate it - which may pay off later.



Blogger Audacity said...

Good job!

11/15/2006 9:09 PM  

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