Sunday, May 27, 2007

Good Question on the Ethics of Calling Cops Liars

In the last post I was talking about having to convince a jury a cop is lying. Anonymous left a comment, wondering whether it was ethical to call the cop a liar if I didn't really think the cop was lying.

Well, in that case, I don't have to worry; this cop has lost the presumption of truthfulness by lying on previous cases. This cop is a bit of a zealot, which isn't bad by itself, but in this cop it's combined with a strong sense of "to hell with the law, this is a bad person who must be punished, so I'll say what's required to send them to prison."

But let's assume the cop hasn't got a background. If my client tells me he didn't have any drugs, the the police officer is a liar. Moreover, is the D.A. being unethical? In essence, the D.A. is calling my client a liar by filing charges/ going to trial. Considering the presumption of innocence, the D.A. would truly have an ethical problem if the same thinking were applied to the other side of our adversarial system.

However, the reason we have courts and judges and juries and lawyers and an adversarial system of justice (inefficient in time and money as it is) is because we can't know who's telling the truth, the cop or the defendant. In an adversarial system, I take up the position that my client, the defendant, is telling the truth. The D.A. stands up for his/her side of the argument; that the cop is telling the truth. Then 12 people decide who's telling the truth. Furthermore, with the presumption of innocence, the defendant doesn't have to have a story or even be telling the truth (but if I know he's not telling the truth, he's either not testifying or he's giving narrative testimony. (PD's don't get to withdraw in situations like that)) My job/duty is, at its simplest, to bring or highlight the evidence that shows the truth isn't on the D.A.'s side.

There are also some practical considerations when trying a case where there are two mutually incompatible assertions being argued. e.g., "He did it" vs. "No, he didn't", i.e., just about every case that's filed.
If you tell a jury that a cop is lying they'll shut down on you, unless you've got airtight proof. (In which case the D.A. would have dumped the case already)
If you couch the incompatible assertions as a misunderstanding or a misperception, that's easier for a jury to accept.
Finally, if you're in a situation where you've just got to flat-out say, "The cop/witness/alleged victim is lying, don't say it. Show it. Lay the problems in the evidence out for the jury and let them come up with the idea that the D.A.'s witness is a liar. This method gets around the problem of the jury tuning you out, as well as some of the ethical concerns anonymous has; all you're doing is talking about the evidence.

I don't like calling people liars. You'd better have some good evidence before I'll decide someone's a liar. But here's what I think may be anonymous' error; that requirement for good evidence before calling someone a liar? It applies to defendants as well as cops. If anonymous believed not only that cops were truthful unless proven liars, but also that citizens accused of crimes were truthful unless proven liars, he'd have the same ethical question for prosecutors.

Our system is an adversarial system, and even with all its warts, I'll take it over any other system (though I'm open to suggestions for alternatives)

And he cop wanting payback? If it's a good cop, he/she won't. If it's a bad cop, my pointing that fact out isn't going to make a bit of difference in what he/she does.

Thanks for the question, anonymous - passioned, yet polite.

Jack

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem, of course, is when you know the cop isn't lying, but you suggest to the jury that he is.

Much as I hate to admit it, I actually watched a Bill O'Reilly episode. The guy is a blowhard. An uninformed blowhard. However, he was talking about the Danielle Van Dam case, and I think he was right about it. The lawyers for the guy who did it said to the jury that the Van Dam's swinger buddies could have done it--something they knew was not true because Westerfield had admitted to them that he killed Danielle.

Getting down to brass tacks, that's a lie. You can couch it all you want etc. etc., and you can say things like "The evidence supports" or what have you, but at the end of the day, it is a lie.

That too me seems unethical.

Can I again stress how much of a blowhard O'Reilly is?

5/28/2007 11:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

好秘书 中国呼吸网 肿瘤网 中国皮肤网 癌症康复网 工作总结 个人工作总结 半年工作总结 年终工作总结 单位工作总结 教师工作总结 教学工作总结 学校工作总结 德育工作总结 财务工作总结 医务工作总结 安全工作总结 乡镇工作总结 党员工作总结 团委工作总结 公司工作总结 实习工作总结 班主任工作总结 党支部工作总结 办公室工作总结 学生会工作总结 总结报告 工作报告 政府报告 述职报告 述廉报告 考察报告 自查报告 情况报告 调研报告 调查报告 申请报告 辞职报告 实习报告 验收报告 评估报告 汇报体会 工作汇报 思想汇报 汇报材料 情况通报 情况汇报 心得体会 学习心得 工作心得 培训心得 读后感 发言致辞 发言稿 开业开幕 领导讲话 动员讲话 庆典致辞 节日致词 新春致词 晚会致辞 追悼悼词 节目游戏 毕业致辞 思想宣传 组织人事 晚会主持词 会议主持词 婚礼主持词 常用书信 表扬信 感谢信 倡议书 责任书 承诺书 检讨书 申请书 保证书 决心书 悔过书 建议书 慰问信 邀请函 条据书信 礼仪文书 贺电贺词 社交礼仪 个人礼仪 商务礼仪 职场礼仪 涉外礼仪 饮食礼仪 节日礼仪 婚庆礼仪 鲜花礼仪 其他礼仪 交际礼仪 哮喘 支气管炎 气管炎 鼻炎 肺癌 呼吸机 氧气机

1/14/2008 3:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

好秘书 中国呼吸网 肿瘤网 癌症康复网 中国皮肤网 感冒 支气管炎 气管炎 哮喘 肺癌 肺炎 肺结核 打鼾 鼻炎 咳嗽 咽炎 肺心病 肺气肿 鼻窦炎 鼻息肉 扁桃体炎 喉炎 支气管扩张 肺水肿 肺脓肿 肺不张 尘肺病 肺栓塞 鼻咽癌 鼻窦炎 呼吸衰竭 呼吸道感染 呼吸困难 口咽癌 咽部异物 喉癌 喉麻痹 喉头水肿 新生儿窒息 胸腔积液 气胸 胸膜炎 鼻疖 咯血 胸膜癌 急性会厌炎 禽流感 麻疹 风疹 猩红热 百日咳 呼吸机 氧气机 工作总结 个人工作总结 半年工作总结 年终工作总结 述职报告

1/14/2008 3:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This site is one of the best I have found.
Cara herbal mengobati penyakit kutil kelamin

12/01/2015 3:01 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home