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How brady decision impacts new officer

Discussion in 'Law School & Careers in Law' started by jeret, May 28, 2007.

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  1. jeret

    jeret Law Topic Starter New Member

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    My son just completed 9 months of training to become an officer. Two months before the last month of field training, he, another recruit, and a Field Training Officer (FTO) broke a police policy that recruits and officers do not fraternize - they were observed together and it was reported. They were together for about an hour - it wasn't a planned occasion, they just ended up in the same place. By the actions and statements of the FTO, the recruits felt they would be fired if they admitted to being together. The recruits were told they needed to go along with a story that they weren't together for more than 5 minutes. The FTO made it clear that they'd all be fired if they admitted to being together. So against his best judgement, my son went along with the story because he was in fear of losing his job. The FTO had been very knowledgeable and extremely helpful during the FTO phase, so they believed that would be the best way to resolve the issue. However, all three have been in receipt of a suspension terminiation notice for lying and will have a hearing soon. The commander stated to my son that he would like to keep him on but the brady decsion may make it difficult for him to stay on with the dept.

    What would be a possible defense my son can use during the hearing? The hearing is being held very soon. He has an atty on his case that has been appointed by the police union. He wants to be able to help the attny with possible defenses.
     
  2. CdwJava

    CdwJava Moderator

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    I'm going to guess the truth came out during an internal investigation.

    What Brady does is it often requires that the prosecution disclose evidence to the defense that might cast doubt on the veracity and reliability of the officer. The fact that your son LIED in an internal investigation can be very damning Brady material as he will be seen as a proven liar. That will mean that in any case he testifies to he can be confronted with this fact.

    "Officer, is it not true that you LIED to your superiors in order to avoid getting in trouble?"

    The answer to this question will case serious doubt on his veracity in many other aspects of his job - including consent searches, observations, statements, etc.

    He MIGHT be able to overcome this with time, but many agencies are very concerned about these issues because it makes them incapable of doing their job.

    I would strongly recommend he consult his union's representatives for access to legal defense information and that he make a fight of it if he can.

    - carl
     
  3. jeret

    jeret Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you for your response. The truth came out when my son came to one of the investigating officers and told what actually happened. This was a few days after the initial discussion were held. He has a union attny who is researching this -- however, he was told that he has about a 5% chance of retaining his position. Are you aware of any cases that were similar == they were all off duty and the entire incident had no bearing on anything else.
     
  4. CdwJava

    CdwJava Moderator

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    Wait ... he lied about an OFF DUTY gathering which would likely have been outside the scope of the department to regulate anyway?!? Unless they were in uniform and in marked vehicles, the department certainly have had no ability to take punitive action against anyone.

    Lessons to take away from this, even if he cannot save his job:

    First, that FTO is a moron.

    Second, if anyone tells you to lie, don't!

    Third, don't lie.

    Fourth, don't lie.

    Fifth ... well, you get the gist of it.

    Unless he is in CA, any case law I MIGHT be able to find is not likely going to be relevant. He needs to listen to his attorney and hope for the best. My thought would be to argue that the event occurred outside the scope of department policy to regulate anyway (as it was off duty conduct). But, if he LIED in the investigation, it puts him in a very, very bad place even if he lied for something that he could not have ultimately been disciplined for.

    - Carl
     

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