According to the Chicago Police Department’s mission statement, the department strives to fulfill their mission by attaining the highest degree of ethical behavior at all times.  However, this statement has been questioned by the general public and civil rights lawyers throughout the years. From the shooting of Laquan McDonald to the act of writing false reports, the Chicago Tribune has recently put the spotlight on cops who are rarely punished in court when they give false/questionable testimony.

The Chicago Tribune has been investigating this phenomenon and has found at least a dozen cases where the police officers have given false or questionable testimony but experienced few to no consequences.  The issue is so prevalent that the United States Justice Department has asked the Cook County public defender’s office to refer cases that show evidence of officers testifying falsely.

Perjury may be an issue in the courtroom for several reasons.  When a case is dependent on a defendant’s testimony and a police officer’s testimony the court is more obligated to believe the police officer.  In the eyes of the judge and the public, the police officer is supposed to have exemplary character, always maintaining honesty and integrity for the justice system.  Thus, the officer is seen as a more reliable source.  Another unfortunate reason the police have committed perjury on the stand may be due to the Exclusionary Rule.  The Exclusionary Rule is designed to exclude evidence that is illegally obtained in a criminal trial.  This rule applies in federal courts based off the Fourth Amendment; the Fourth Amendment protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government and requires any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause.  As a result of this rule, police in search and seizure cases wish to cover up illegal searches and seizures by means of writing false reports and more importantly, perjury.

The solution for perjury does not seem to be imminent but the suggestion of abolition of the exclusionary rule would not be a good idea.  Without the exclusionary rule in place, the fourth amendment and citizen’s rights would further erode.  Another mechanism should be put in place to reduce perjury in testimony along with state’s attorneys reporting acts of perjury in the courtroom.  Nicole Rhim

If you have been victimized by unlawful searches and seizures, call the Law Office of Edward Johnson today.  We will immediately set you up with an experienced lawyer on the Fourth Amendment.  Call for a free consultation today at 708.606.4386.

For the original article and other legal news, please visit the Tribune’s Breaking News Section

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