Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New York City police perjury is widespread, Federal Judge declares

U.S. District Judge Jack Weinstein, one of the most famous Federal judges of the late 20th century, recently declared that there is "repeated widespread falsification" [i.e., perjury] by New York City police regarding the arrests that they make. In this case, the lies of NYPD detectives were contradicted by security videotapes, and the detectives have been indicted.

As reported in The New York Times in 1994
, a draft of the report issued by the Commission chaired by Judge Milton Mollen that investigated police misconduct found that perjury was "widespread" and that New York police officers referred to their routine perjury as "testilying." The Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau told The New York Times he thought the report exaggerated the scope of the perjury problem. Morgenthau is retiring this year.

An earlier story in November 2009 in the New York Daily News noted that the police department did not try to learn the outcome of cases in which the City of New York was sued for the misconduct of police officers, and is now, at the end of 2009, looking for patterns of police officer perjury.

Think of that: for at least 15 years the police department has been on notice that perjury is widespread and it did nothing to find out about perjury that was so egregious that it led to lawsuits against the city. In the criminal law we call this "willful blindness."

My hunch is that such commonplace police perjury is not limited to the New York police, but is prevalent, if not widespread and customary, in police departments throughout the country.

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David Bratzer said...

I'm glad to be able to say that my neck of the woods (British Columbia, Canada) is not like this at all.

I've never seen a police officer lie on the stand and I have no doubt that if it did occur, and the officer was caught, then it would be dealt with severely.

skootercat said...

Never is a long time, Mr. B. if you did witness a lie in court, what would have been your options?

Never before have civilians had an opportunity to get inside the collective mind of law enforcement like with LEAP. Thank you for your efforts. It has made a very big difference in reform.