Tuesday, February 2, 2010
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.