View Poll Results: When a Cop (or Former Cop) is Put on Trial, What Should the Standard of Proof Be?

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  • No minimal standard. Where there's smoke.....

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  • Reasonable Suspicion

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  • Probable Cause

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  • Preponderance of the Evidence

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  • Clear and Convincing

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  • Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

    23 85.19%
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Thread: When a Cop (or Former Cop) is Put on Trial, What Should the Standard of Proof Be?

  1. #1
    Dungeon Master
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    When a Cop (or Former Cop) is Put on Trial, What Should the Standard of Proof Be?

    Watching one of the news networks and one of the guests was lamenting the lack of convictions when the defendant is someone who is or was a cop. I found that interesting and the implication seemed to be that conviction in the Gray case needs to be a pretty much forgone conclusion. Honestly, I'm not sure at all how you get a murder conviction based on the facts as I understand them to be (which may be far different than what's presented at trial), much less a definite conviction. I started wondering if people believed that the prosecutions burden should be something less (or perhaps more) than beyond a reasonable doubt when the person tried is a cop. I actually think a legit argument could be made than someone is a position of authority they way cops are, should not also enjoy quite the same constitutional protections as ordinary citizens although I would totally disagree with that position. What do you think?
    Last edited by X Factor; 05-03-15 at 10:13 AM.

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    Re: When a Cop (or Former Cop) is Put on Trial, What Should the Standard of Proof Be?

    The same burden of proof that any another person in the justice system is judged by..
    If you start with different burdens, then it might degenerate into something like the no witnesses/no rape rules that some countries have.
    Do we have to have video/audio/dna evidence to prosecute the police? Do you have to have 4 witnesses?

    The major problem is conflict of interest from DAs and forensics.


    You can have different expectations as to behaviour. Police should be held to a higher standard of behaviour because they are supposed to know the laws. Lawyers, judges as well. This means that prosecutors will have less discretion is cases involving said people. Incentive programs for the number of tickets, arrests and/or convictions should be illegal.
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    Re: When a Cop (or Former Cop) is Put on Trial, What Should the Standard of Proof Be?

    Quote Originally Posted by X Factor View Post
    Watching one of the news networks and one of the guests was lamenting the lack of convictions when the defendant is someone who is or was a cop. I found that interesting and the implication seemed to be that conviction in the Gray case needs to be a pretty much forgone conclusion. Honestly, I'm not sure at all how you get a murder conviction based on the facts as I understand them to be (which may be far different than what's presented at trial), much less a definite conviction. I started wondering if people believed that the prosecutions burden should be something less (or perhaps more) than beyond a reasonable doubt when the person tried is a cop. I actually think a legit argument could be made than someone is a position of authority they way cops are, should not also enjoy quite the same constitutional protections as ordinary citizens although I would totally disagree with that position. What do you think?
    Have you considered the possibility that the "implication" in bold is your own fabrication and nobody actually thinks this?
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    Re: When a Cop (or Former Cop) is Put on Trial, What Should the Standard of Proof Be?

    Quote Originally Posted by Deuce View Post
    Have you considered the possibility that the "implication" in bold is your own fabrication and nobody actually thinks this?
    Nobody? You feel confident that if those cops are acquitted, it will be calmly accepted? It won't be because a lot of people think these cops should be convicted, like, right now and not doing so will be a failure of the racist jury (it won't matter that 3 of the cops are black and the one with the highest charge is a black woman) or the corrupt system etc.

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    Re: When a Cop (or Former Cop) is Put on Trial, What Should the Standard of Proof Be?

    Quote Originally Posted by RogueWarrior View Post
    The same burden of proof that any another person in the justice system is judged by..
    If you start with different burdens, then it might degenerate into something like the no witnesses/no rape rules that some countries have.
    Do we have to have video/audio/dna evidence to prosecute the police? Do you have to have 4 witnesses?

    The major problem is conflict of interest from DAs and forensics.


    You can have different expectations as to behaviour. Police should be held to a higher standard of behaviour because they are supposed to know the laws. Lawyers, judges as well. This means that prosecutors will have less discretion is cases involving said people. Incentive programs for the number of tickets, arrests and/or convictions should be illegal.
    But what if these cops are acquitted because the prosecution couldn't meet that high standard of proof? Isn't that why you stated you'd be completely fine with someone attacking or even killing cops for being cops? No standard of proof required.

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    Re: When a Cop (or Former Cop) is Put on Trial, What Should the Standard of Proof Be?

    Quote Originally Posted by X Factor View Post
    Watching one of the news networks and one of the guests was lamenting the lack of convictions when the defendant is someone who is or was a cop. I found that interesting and the implication seemed to be that conviction in the Gray case needs to be a pretty much forgone conclusion. Honestly, I'm not sure at all how you get a murder conviction based on the facts as I understand them to be (which may be far different than what's presented at trial), much less a definite conviction. I started wondering if people believed that the prosecutions burden should be something less (or perhaps more) than beyond a reasonable doubt when the person tried is a cop. I actually think a legit argument could be made than someone is a position of authority they way cops are, should not also enjoy quite the same constitutional protections as ordinary citizens although I would totally disagree with that position. What do you think?
    I don't believe anyone of them will be convicted of murder, but I do believe they are culpable for his death and should be punished in some way. I think the second degree charge is nothing more than a way to appease the protestors. In the end, the cops will walk.


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    Re: When a Cop (or Former Cop) is Put on Trial, What Should the Standard of Proof Be?

    Same standard as anyone else.

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    Re: When a Cop (or Former Cop) is Put on Trial, What Should the Standard of Proof Be?

    Quote Originally Posted by pbrauer View Post
    I don't believe anyone of them will be convicted of murder, but I do believe they are culpable for his death and should be punished in some way. I think the second degree charge is nothing more than a way to appease the protestors. In the end, the cops will walk.
    I agree with that, and as much as I am usually pro-cop, I'm usually even more pro-prosecution (I fully supported Zimmerman being taken to trial), but what that state prosecutor did was obvious as was her subsequent grandstanding.

  9. #9
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    Re: When a Cop (or Former Cop) is Put on Trial, What Should the Standard of Proof Be?

    Depends on how vocal and violent the mob is.
    "I believe in a Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the harmony of all that exists, but not in a God who concerns himself with the fate and actions of human beings."

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  10. #10
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    Re: When a Cop (or Former Cop) is Put on Trial, What Should the Standard of Proof Be?

    Quote Originally Posted by X Factor View Post
    I agree with that, and as much as I am usually pro-cop, I'm usually even more pro-prosecution (I fully supported Zimmerman being taken to trial), but what that state prosecutor did was obvious as was her subsequent grandstanding.
    That's how prosecution always works - throw the book at em and coerce them into pleading to a lesser charge. That, and a 95% conviction rate, is how 90% of cases never go to trial. If not for plea bargains, within a month our courts would be backlogged so far we'd either have to spend billions upon billions adding new courts and public lawyers (plea deals is how a NYC lawyer can manage 1000 defendants), or stop prosecuting many crimes altogether

    Our system isn't really adversarial, or even about justice, so much as streamlining things.

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