Disclosing Officer Untruthfulness to the Defense: Is a Liar’s Squad Coming to Your Town?
Since 1963, a series of United States Supreme Court case decisions have clarified that, in criminal cases, prosecutors must disclose to the defense evidence favorable to the defendant. This includes information that may be used to impeach the credibility of government witnesses, including law enforcement officers. These decisions mean that police officers who have documented histories of lying in official matters are liabilities to their agencies, and these histories may render them unable to testify credibly.
With this in mind, you are the Chief of Police of a municipality. Your Deputy Chief of Police advises you that one of your officers was investigated for inappropriate use of one of the computers in the patrol division. As a result of this internal investigation, it was determined that the officer used this computer to search pornographic web sites. When confronted with this allegation, the officer denied any knowledge of this incident. Upon further investigation, the computer crimes analyst determined that the officer’s log on password was used to enter the unauthorized web sites. The officer then admitted to his wrongdoing and stated it would never happen again. This officer has been with your organization for 15 years, and the only other disciplinary action taken against him was for being involved in an at-fault traffic accident 10 years ago. As the Chief of Police, how would you handle this situation?
Would you terminate this 15-year veteran with a virtually clean record? Why?
Or would you impose significant disciplinary action as opposed to termination? Why?
As part of this research paper, read the following United States Supreme Court Cases:
• Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963)
• Giglio v. United States, 405 U. S. 150 (1972)
• United States v. Agurs, 427 U. S. 97 (1976)
• Kyles v. Whitley, 514 U. S. 419 (1995)
• United States v. Bagley, 473 U. S. 667 (1985)
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