Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Will Baude has this post at The Volokh Conspiracy. In part:
My understanding is that once a police officer is found to have lied on the stand, it is difficult for that police officer ever to testify again, because the finding of dishonesty can be used to impeach them. This means that a finding of dishonesty can carry major professional consequences for an officer.
Let us suppose this is true. Is it possible that this actually dissuades judges from finding that police officers have lied? I’d worry that a judge who thinks that an officer’s testimony is not that believable, but who is not certain, might err on the side of crediting the officer — or at least declining to say anything about it either way — because of the severe consequences to the officer. In other words, I wonder if the severe consequences to being caught lying cause judges to underenforce the requirement of honesty. That could even lead to more lying in the long run.