Friday, February 12, 2010

Perjury Indictment against cops in Miami

Do police officers ever lie during testimony? Federal prosecutors in Miami appear to think so

In this Miami case, an old law school friend from Northeastern, D'Arsey Houlihan and his investigator proved during a pretrial suppression hearing that the police officers were not testifying truthfully. His motion to suppress was granted and the charges dismissed. That is usually the end of the story and, frankly, prosecutors, judges, and some defense attorneys would yawn at the news that some officers lied during a suppression hearing. But in this instance federal prosecutors, pretty much the victims of the alleged crime (it was their case that got tossed after all) are doing the right thing...but also the thing that lets them send a message to local cops who testify in federal court: if you lie under oath that is perjury.

Federal prosecutors love perjury charges - just ask Barry Bonds. There is even something called a "perjury trap" that is a legal concept which grew out of the practice of federal criminal prosecutors calling witnesses to testify at grand jury proceedings with the aim of getting them to lie (the aforementioned Mr. Bonds is still stuck in the one that was laid for him).

Time will tell if the prosecutors follow through and get convictions or, as seems to happen more often with police officers charged with crimes, the charges don't stick.