Crime & Law Enforcement Issues & Death Penalty/police lie on witness stand
what are some of the reasons why an officer might lie in th ewitness stand? what can be done proactively to avoid this taking place? Should the officer be allowed to keep their job?
Hey, Rudy. Thanks for sending me your question. It's also a very interesting question. First, about testifying, if you know that you arrested the person legitimately from the start, you'll be 100% confident & never have to lie. On the other hand, if you lied in the beginning when you first made the arrest, unfortunately, in order to keep the case alive, the lie(s) must be kept alive. Regardless, it does happen, although, not as often as you would think.
The most serious reason is because of police corruption. Lies to obtain a search or arrest warrant from a judge lead to further lying in court. Eventually, 90% of the time, those cops' pictures end up on the front page of the paper. Another reason may be that, sometimes, cops may have either made mistakes during the arrest or their original testimony & would rather lie than admit that they messed up. I believe this is due to the image that cops have, we know the way that the public views us & believe that we must protect that image at all costs. Anything less would be too embarrassing. Then you have some rogue cops out there who may fabricate evidence because of how strongly they believe a person should be put away.
For whatever reasons a cop may lie on the stand, it is always unacceptable & cannot be tolerated. There is nothing that can be done to completely prevent it. This is because law enforcement is like anything else, there will be some level of dishonesty in any profession.
How do we deter dishonesty on the stand? I think better training on police procedures, the law, may help, for the ones that may make honest mistakes from the beginning. Other than that, I don't know, except that I think that cops seeing what happens to other cops who get caught is a pretty big deterrent. There isn't much worse than a cop's dishonesty being spread all over the media. As far as should cops be allowed to keep their jobs, I think that, depending on the severity of the act, they should either be reassigned permanently to a desk job where their credibility will never be allowed or fired and even arrested.
I hope I've answered your question. Please feel free to contact me again and I'd really appreciate it if you could rate me. Thank you and good luck.