Every American citizen has the constitutional right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. Sometimes the events leading up to an arrest fall into question with regard to how a stop and search was conducted.
A couple of recent incidences of what is being dubbed as ‘police testilying’ regarding police procedures have made the news, one in the Chicago area and another in San Francisco. The derogatory term refers to officers who falsely testify under oath in criminal court proceedings.
At a pretrial hearing in the Chicago case last fall, an undercover police officer working on narcotics surveillance explained on the stand how he uncovered a 50K brick of cocaine in a minivan occupied by the defendants in a criminal action.
He explained that while he and his partner were parked nearby, they witnessed the driver of a minivan stop at a traffic light and then turn right without properly signaling. This, he claimed, prompted the officers to pull the van over where they, rather incredibly, ended up finding a substantial stash of cocaine in the van.
Defense lawyers scoffed at the explanation, arguing there was no way two veteran police officers would cease surveillance for a traffic stop over a turn signal. The judge, also skeptical of the account, granted a motion to suppress evidence citing that a ‘very clear falsehood by the sole testifying witness’ had occurred.
In San Francisco, a police officer testified that he and other officers tackled a defendant based on the fact the defendant was “walking away rapidly, looking over his shoulder, with both hands tucked in his waistband” after a dice game had been interrupted. An illegal gun was found in the defendants possession stemming from the takedown.
Unfortunately for the officer, security video from a nearby business was rolling at the time of the incident. The clip clearly showed the defendant walking slowly toward police with one hand at his side and the other holding a water bottle.
The San Francisco Public Defender responded to the account mercilessly saying “they [law enforcement] went in there and told boldfaced lies to the judge and US Attorney”. The judge dismissed the case saying he was ‘deeply saddened’ about convictions based on “perjured testimony”.
Every American citizen has the constitutional right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. If you have been charged with a crime in Wisconsin stemming from an unjustified stop and frisk or an illegal search and seizure of your vehicle or home, contact the Law Offices of Andrew C. Ladd LLC for help.
Sources: ABA Journal, “‘Testilying’ by police on stand is rarely punished, Chicago Tribune reports”, by Martha Neil, MAY 06, 2016; ABA Journal, “Feds drop gun case and judge blasts police after security camera contradicts officers’ testimony”, by Martha Neil, MAY 16, 2016.