A recent article in the NY Post describing an investigation into corruption within the New York Police Department (NYPD) has the possibility of a history making scandal. It’s alleged that several high-ranking officers are under suspicion of taking bribes harkening back to police scandals of the 70’s.
The consequences of police misconduct is disheartening on every level from officer morale to public distrust.
As investigators we’ve uncovered evidence of police and prosecutorial misconduct in several cases, one which led to exoneration (Jonathan Fleming) and the other (Randy Williams) to dismissal of all charges.
Evidence based in fact doesn’t bend and is where truth lies. When evidence is suppressed or hidden the truth is also obscured. Any action along this course is considered professional misconduct.
Examples of misconduct found in wrongful convictions:
Flawed police work:
Police officers, detectives and prosecutors who rush to win a case at all costs instead of seeking truth, contribute to a system of flawed justice.
By definition, witness intimidation…”involves trying to get a witness to lie, say certain things under oath, alter or destroy evidence, or not testify or cooperate with authorities at all.” Intimidating a witness is a criminal act and is a fundamental risk to justice.
Eyewitness testimony… “is the account a bystander gives to the police and in the courtroom, describing what that person observed that occurred during the specific incident under investigation. Memory recall has been considered a credible source in the past, but has recently come under attack as forensics can now support psychologists in their claim that memories and individual perceptions are unreliable; being easily manipulated, altered, and biased.”
Withholding information/Brady Rule violations:
All evidence must be disclosed by prosecutors to the defendant and their attorney whether or not they think it’s relevant to the case or not. Failure to do so results in a Brady Rule violation. (Brady vs Maryland) However, there is little in the way of accountability and consequences to prosecutors who commit violations.
Misconduct in the justice system has no boundaries. It can be found at all levels of an investigation, from the first officer on the scene, all the way up to the prosecuting attorney.
Compounded by other unethical acts as described in the investigation of the NYPD, such as bribery and witness intimidation, it creates the perfect storm for a wrongful conviction.
It’s important for everyone involved in an investigation to uphold the ethics to which they are sworn, look at the case objectively, seek the truth instead of the win and don’t cut corners.
Management Resources Ltd of New York is a professional investigative firm licensed in New York and New Jersey, members of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Associated Licensed Detectives of New York, and Founding Members and Regional Directors of Investigating Innocence.
Bob Rahn and Kim Anklin are available for interviews or speaking engagements. Contact ImaginePublicity at 843-808-08509 or email firstname.lastname@example.org