Free Essay on Disclosing Officer Untruthfulness to the Defense

Published: 2023-03-18
Free Essay on Disclosing Officer Untruthfulness to the Defense
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Judicial system Police Ethical dilemma Social issue
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1322 words
12 min read

Confidentiality should be the bedrock principle of any legal system It goes a long way in contributing to the trust, which is the basis of the relationship between an officer and the defense. Integrity is among the most critical character foundations that any good police officer needs to have (Farbiarz, 2016). However, there has been increasing frustration on factors that seem to be expanding the lack of integrity and a greater lack of support for the disciplinary initiatives through appointed and politically elected boards. The main problem in law enforcement may be credited to the issue of lack of integrity from the excessive force to thee uninspired work performances. There have been several legal results for lack of adequately managing untruthfulness in officers, and proactive steps that can be implemented in reducing the potential culture of honesty and organizational tolerance (Milazzo, 2019). The paper addresses this dilemma, as well as looking at an officer's ethical obligation to the defense.

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There are common topics that have been surfacing in the course of disciplinary proceedings that involve violations of honesty and integrity (Davis, 2010). These include little lies. There is the question as to whether all lies are the same, and whether every act of untruthfulness needs to receive the same disciplinary levels, as well as whether there are distinctive factors that one can consistently use in justifying disparate discipline (Milazzo, 2019). Assuming one does, there is also the question as to how the distinction can be justified as well as convincing officers that the different discipline comes out in a fair manner when the officer gets restricted from discussing the details by statutory personnel privacy restrictions.

There is also the subject of internal investigations, and how often one sees an otherwise competent officer lie on some of the minor infractions that may have merited the discipline, yet continuing on a downward spiral that ended their career (Kautzman & Blackwell, 2013). There is also the question on the benefit they perceive when telling the truth may have led to discipline, whether honest should be rewarded through imposing less discipline for the ones coming forward or those that readily admit to wrongdoing. There is also the issue of using polygraph, which begs the question of whether they may really be inadmissible in all the proceedings (Milazzo, 2019). There is the question on the type of predicate of factual foundations needed, whether results come out as being conclusive, and in the case where the chain of commands makes a finding of the fact that contradicts the opinion of the examiner.

An excellent example of a case in such a scenario is Brady v Maryland. Due process in the process needed a disclosure of "evidence favorable to the accused on request, where the evidence is material either to punishment or guilt, regardless of the good faith or bad faith on the prosecution. The case's essentials included sustained findings of dishonesty after a departmental investigation (Boyd, 2012). In summary, the personnel of the officer are rather fair game for the criminal defense attorneys in impeaching an officer on the witness stand due to the credibility of the offer being the material issue and poor reliability being potentially exculpatory evidence.

The degree of disclosure needed in the case included considering the things that should be disclosed. Brady and the involved progeny do not, however, need prosecution to disclose all exculpatory as well as impeachment material. It requires disclosure of the only "that in the case it is suppressed, may deprive the Defendant of the fair trial (Lin, 2009).

As a way of attempting to comply with the mandates that Brady expressed in the case to protect it from any impeachment evidence, some Federal and State Prosecutors kept "Brady Lists" of the officers that might be subject to the impeachment and on who they believed they might not rely. Whether officers may be disciplined or terminated in appearing on the list is an answered or evolving question in a majority of jurisdictions. In response to the trend, California implemented its Public Safety Officers' Procedural Bill of Rights, one that prohibits punitive actions as well as denials on promotions that are only based on the "appearance" of the officer.

The Jean v. Collins case is also another one that has tortured procedural history It included a petition being granted in 1991 by the Fourth Circuit, and this overturned a 1982 state rape conviction due to the failure to offer evidence of the witnesses that had been hypnotized (Raimo, 2011). The Two Fourth Circuit opinion refuted the claims against the involved officers based on having immunity. It ruled that there was no clearly established police duty to turn over exculpatory evidence of the prosecutor.

It is necessary to investigate a confidential informant, as well as a witness that has agreed to cooperate pursuing an immunity agreement or plea, comprehensively. Considering the other aspects, it is necessary to investigate as well as disclose any information acquired in a few considered areas in the defense having a confidential informant or in cooperating witnesses towards testifying at a hearing of trial (Binnendijk & Priebe, 2019). These include the relationship they have with the Defendant, the motivation of the witness in testifying or cooperating, like in the subject case, where the officer has admitted to his wrongdoing and admitted it would never happen again.

The "full advocacy approach" can also be used in such a case. The approach includes the defense protecting the accused's confidences, and knowingly presenting perjured testimony, in the case where the lawyer fails to dissuade the client from committing perjury. It rejects the idea of having to withdraw in the midst of the trial due to such confidentiality (Stoppioni, 2017). The only reason the defense may believe the client as going to lie due to confidential communication with the accused. It also recognizes in loss of trust and the corresponding effect of the disclosure on the relationship between the defense and the officer (Ringnalda, 2010). As opposed to vigorous advocacy, the officer in the subject may perceive the defense as switching sides and the client perceiving that the defense has switched sides and is for the prosecution

Considering how the officer should be approached when a complaint comes in, it is necessary to approach the situation where the officer manages to immediately react due to the public setting he is in of the leading question without thinking. They may be the not simple solution to the dilemma, as the approaches may vary based on the case. From the officer's perspective, he wants to be released from the nightmare as fast as possible (Milazzo, 2019). The full advocacy approach may mostly be backed up by academics that give more weight to the Defendant's rights. It is not a surprise that judges had the biggest proponents of a "narrative approach. Through such a plan, it will be easier as the Chief of Police to adhere to the law and avoid dealing with a challenging pro se litigant. Additionally, it is essential to be certain that all information is gathered in the case.


Binnendijk, A., & Priebe, M. (2019). An Attack Against Them All? Retrieved Dec 13, 2019

Boyd, J. (2012). You think your client is going to lie on the stand-The classic dilemma of a criminal defense lawyer. Traffic Laws & Courts, 21(3).

Davis, D. A. (2010, October ). U.S. Department of Justice Memorandum. Retrieved Dec 13, 2019

Farbiarz, M. (2016). Extraterritorial Criminal Jurisdiction. Michigan Law Review, 114(4), 507-559.

Kautzman, J. F., & Blackwell, L. T. (2013). Case Law Update Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963. Kautzman Blackwell Bemis & Hasbrook.

Lin, T. C. (2009). UNDRESSING THE CEO: Disclosing Private, Material Matters Of Public Company Executives. U. Of Pennsylvania Journal Of Business Law, 11(2), 383-444.

Milazzo, C. (2019). The Untruthful Officer: A Proactive Management Approach. Retrieved Dec 13, 2019

Raimo, T. (2011). Winning at the Expense of Law: The Ramifications of Expanding Counter-terrorism Law Enforcement Jurisdiction Overseas. American University International Law Review, 14(5), 1474-1514.

Ringnalda, A. (2010). Inquisitorial or adversarial? Utrecht Law Review, 6(1), 118-137.

Stoppioni, E. (2017, January). Jurisdictional Impact of Most-Favoured-Nation Clauses. Max Planck Institute Luxembourg, pp. 1-20.

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