CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Wilson on Judging Police Lies

Wilson melanie Melanie D. Wilson  (University of Kansas - School of Law) has posted Judging Police Lies: An Empirical Perspective on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

This article presents findings from an empirical study of judicial orders in one Midwestern federal district court over a twenty-four-month period. The study analyzes trial court decisions to determine whether, as scholars often contend, judges consistently side with the prosecution when a defendant claims that the police lied during the criminal investigation of her case.

While analyzing judges’ receptiveness to police dishonesty arguments, the study also looks at the frequency with which defendants make such arguments, the types of cases in which defendants claim police lies, and the indicators that appear to persuade trial judges that the police have lied. For instance, the study finds that the defense accuses officers of lying in about 7% of formal pleadings and hearings and that when the defense argues police dishonesty, 84% of the time the arguments are made in the context of challenging a search or seizure.

Ultimately the article concludes that trial judges are perpetuating police perjury by failing to denounce police dishonesty with their rulings.

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My impression is that judges foster perjury generally, by failing to discipline obvious lies. Are they easier on police than on anyone else? (including expert witnesses)

Posted by: Eric Rasmusen | Feb 2, 2010 9:45:15 AM

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