Cops and Lawyers


Miami criminal-defense lawyer Brian Tannebaum has some interesting comments about personal relationships between Cops and Criminal Defense Lawyers.

When reading his post and the comments, it occurred to me that while cops who don’t respect us and the system are dangerous to our factually innocent clients, the cops who are most dangerous to our factually guilty clients are the ones who respect and appreciate what we do.

A cop who appreciates what we do is likely to appreciate that the end does not justify the means. Such a cop is more likely to follow the rules. Following the rules, such a cop is more likely to know the rules. Knowing and following the rules, such a cop is less likely to make the kind of mistakes that we criminal-defense lawyers convert into acquittals and dismissals.

A cop who resents criminal-defense lawyers is more likely to cheat — to break the rules. Cops who are more likely to cheat are more likely to arrest people for things they didn’t really do, and more likely to make mistakes — mistakes that lead to victories for the defense. (All good for business, of course, but objectionable nonetheless.)

Even in the arena of trial, the cop who doesn’t respect the criminal-defense lawyer’s job is more likely to show his bias and give the jury reasons to doubt his testimony. A jury can tell the difference between Wil Kane and Vic Mackey.

All in all, I’d rather have cops who understand and appreciate the system doing the investigations (because they would be less likely to fudge or falsify the evidence) and have cops who don’t understand and appreciate the system testilfying for the government (because they would be more likely to screw up and walk my clients).

Am I off-track here? Do any of you defenders see the cop with the bad attitude toward lawyers as more of a challenge to face in court than the cop who appreciates the job we do?

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