In other words, forget that ‘innocent til proven guilty’ thing. Guilty or innocent, your sorry ass is headed for jail.

It’s one of the most common accusations by defendants and defense attorneys — that police officers don’t tell the truth on the witness stand.

Of course, defendants themselves can be the ones lying, but the problem of police perjury — and what can be done about it — is being debated anew. Fueling the discussion are recent court cases in New York City and Boston that indicated officers may have lied and a U.S. Supreme Court ruling this month that could have broader implications for cases in which improperly obtained evidence is in dispute.

Questionable testimony by police comes up most often in firearm- or drug-possession cases in which officers often testify that a defendant had a bulge in his pocket — which they thought might be a gun — or dropped drugs in plain sight as they approached him, giving the officers the right to seize the contraband. Defense lawyers say in many of these cases, officers are “testilying” and that the guns or drugs were actually discovered when their clients were unjustly frisked by officers. They also say testilying frequently occurs in more serious cases.
“It is an open secret long shared by prosecutors, defense lawyers and judges that perjury is widespread among law enforcement officers,” though it’s difficult to detect in specific cases, said Alex Kozinski, a federal appeals-court judge, in the 1990s. That’s because the exclusionary rule “sets up a great incentive for…police to lie.”

  1. Paddy-O says:

    Loosening the exclusionary rule just because cops are lying is a very bad idea.

    • Joe Peck says:

      Very simple solution. Send the lying cops to prison. Make them accountable for their actions.

  2. chris says:

    #1 nailed it

    should we change the rules so it’s easier for them to live with themselves?

    Big problems facing police, and by extension society:

    1. An unwinnable drug war
    2. Compstat style management
    3. Short term focus. Same problem as in infrastructure management or military budgeting.

  3. Improbus says:

    This falls under the heading of DUH! You should avoid talking with or interacting with the police if at all possible. No good can come of it.

  4. bobbo says:

    Hah, hah. I got a ticket once for failure to stop for a school bus. Problem was, I was out warming up my car to get it ready for a smog test and I was testing my video camera at the same time.

    Everything was on disk. No School Bus Anywhere so I contested the ticket.

    Come court day and the cops said I failed to stop. I said I had it on film.

    Judge Ruled I couldn’t prove when the images were taken and he believed the cop.

    I consider it a form of taxation. Happy to comply.

  5. amodedoma says:

    I alway get uncomfortable when dealing with people who are armed, specially when I’m not. I guess they’re just like everybody else and don’t like to work too hard. I mean if they can’t just search the kid selling crack on the corner, they’d have a hell of a time. Even if the search was unwarranted, if a weapon or contraband is found it’s still a crime. Cops, some are good, some are bad, I stay out of their way. The constitution is good when it protects the innocent and sucks when it protects the guilty, I try to stay out of it’s way too.

  6. Nth of the 49th says:

    Wow cops lying who’dda thunk it.

    Almost as annoying as this stupidly juvenile habit of combining two unrelated words to make one.

  7. chuck says:

    Here’s the problem:

    1. Police officer lies during testimony.
    2. Defendant lies during arrest and defense.

    How can we tell if the defendant is innocent?

    Answer: that’s what the judge (or jury) is supposed to do. They are supposed to consider the evidence presented, and decide whether they believe the defendant or the prosecutor.

    This ruling seems to be about preventing a jury from ever making that decision: by excluding evidence (testimony) because it may be untrue.

    Since the jury is supposed to convict “beyond reasonable doubt”, then if it can’t decide who is telling the truth, they must not convict.

    Then it puts the emphasis back on the prosecutors and police to make sure they present truthful testimony.

  8. BubbaRay says:

    They also say testilying (sic) frequently occurs in more serious cases.

    “Testilying.” Now that’s a good one!

  9. Sonny says:

    Uncle Dave? OH! You mean David Ham. Try defamation of character in a conspiracy with Kenneth Ham. (Coming to a court near you!)

    Accusing people publicly of criminal acts is Cyber-terrorism. Also, defamation of character when those mentioned are not legally liable.

    Go sell your nuts elsewhere.

  10. noname says:

    Cops lie because the supreme court said they could during suspect interrogations/interactions.

    A childhood friend of sorts tells me, Cops are specifically trained in lying confidently and habitually.

    Lying in court is just a hard habit to break for cops; another unintended consequence that conservatives have dumped on the public.

    Cops are nothing but armed and angry Psychopathic Control freaks

  11. jbenson2 says:


    It is an open secret long shared by prosecutors, defense lawyers and judges that perjury is widespread among… thieves, thugs, punks, criminals, robbers, bandits, burglars, swindlers, crooks.

    But Judge! “Ya gotz ta believe me. I’m innocent”


  12. Paddy-O says:

    And, in the end, an adversarial justice system (based on ancient practice of two guys fighting to prove who’s telling the truth) isn’t about finding the truth…


  13. Mr. Fusion says:

    #12, benson,

    I wouldn’t be that hard on the police. Making blanket statements that they ALL are thieves, thugs, punks, criminals, robbers, bandits, burglars, swindlers, crooks. is a bit of a stretch. Yes, I will agree that some cops are, but surely not all.

  14. jbenson2 says:

    #14 Mr. Fusion,
    I wasn’t referring to the Police. I thought it was fairly obvious that I was referring to the Democrats.

  15. Mr. Fusion says:

    #15, benson,

    But your comment said:

    It is an open secret long shared by prosecutors, defense lawyers and judges that perjury is widespread among… thieves, thugs, punks, criminals, robbers, bandits, burglars, swindlers, crooks.

    Gee, that is exactly what we are discussing, police lying in court. It is well known that the police are thugs with guns and they steal from victims and those they arrest. Many have “little penis syndrome” that is relieved only by carrying a gun and badge. They feel so good when they get someone off of the streets. Guilty or not.

    The old line about how to tell when a cop is lying – if his lips are moving didn’t come out a vacuum. The Innocence Project isn’t there because the cops all told the truth. Cops do lie and they do lie under oath.


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