Police Perjury & Judicial Misconduct
Mid-October saw some explosive developments in the criminal justice system in New York—developments that could have an effect on the rest of the country. First, a federal judge announced that there would be a court hearing on the issue of police lying and providing false testimony when it comes to criminal cases.
In addition a $25 million whistleblower lawsuit was filed in Manhattan state Supreme Court, alleging that one former administrative judge purposely diverted certain criminal cases from two other judges because prosecutors informed her that these judges were too “defense-oriented,” amongst other allegations.
The Issue of Police Perjury
While numerous federal judges have expressed concern over the credibility of some police testimony when it comes to rulings in individual criminal cases in recent years, this recent particular announcement may very well signal a broader, national inquiry into policy perjury in general. Judge Weinstein has specifically indicated that the question of whether the police department itself has permitted and/or encouraged this kind of behavior could lead to some very important reforms.
Reportedly, these concerns stem from various newspaper articles concerning potential statements and perjury committed by police officers on the stand, as well as a recent case involving an individual who was charged with drug dealing based on sparse, suspicious evidence. Specifically, police officers decided to arrest a cashier some time after initially stating that they could not identify a suspect in a drug-related case. The suspect not only had no criminal record, but no drugs were found on him and another worker also provided him with an alibi. As a result, the suspect–after having charges dropped against him–brought his own lawsuit against the police (and city), claiming that they only arrested him in order to be paid overtime.
The judge’s ruling may very well have set the stage for challenges to unconstitutional police practices around the country.
Whistleblower Lawsuit: One Judge’s Misconduct
The whistleblower lawsuit specifically targets previous Justice Judith McMahon, alleging that she not only tried to divert cases away from judges in response to prosecutorial concern over those judges being too “defense-oriented,” but also allegedly tried to declare a mistrial in a case in which the jury acquitted the defendant. The complaint also alleges related misconduct, such as the judge discussing confidential grand jury matters with her spouse.
Notably, the Office of Court Administration’s inspector general is also investigating the issue.
Civil Rights & Criminal Defense Attorneys Serving Florida and Massachusetts
If you have been the victim of misconduct in the criminal justice system, speaking with an experienced criminal defense and civil rights attorney right away is crucial. When an officer or another party violates your civil rights, the law entitles you to certain compensation and legal relief if you decide to file a claim.
At the Baez Law Firm, we have represented many individuals who have suffered serious civil rights violations. Contact us today for a free consultation with our experienced civil rights and criminal defense lawyers.