View Poll Results: Should individual police officers pay out-of-pocket for wrongfully charged crimes?

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  • Absolutely

    5 13.16%
  • Absolutely not

    22 57.89%
  • Both cops and the court system should be held liable

    7 18.42%
  • Other (please explain)

    4 10.53%
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Thread: Should individual police officers pay out-of-pocket for wrongfully charged crimes?

  1. #71
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    Re: Should individual police officers pay out-of-pocket for wrongfully charged crimes

    The theory: Evidence is gathered, a warrant is issued upon probable cause; you are arrested, held in jail for a short while until you are tried by a jury of your peers and found guilty or not guilty.

    The reality: Arrests are more commonly made because the subject talks and gives away something incriminating, or has incriminating evidence on his person or in his home, or is ratted out by someone. Not a lot of Columbo or Murder, She Wrote detective work involved (nor CSI in most cases). Many get out on bond. Most use a public "defender" and plead guilty in return for a reduced sentence... that's assuming some pre-trial intervention doesn't occur resulting in probation or whatever. If you insist on a jury trial, it will probably take at least 1 year, perhaps 2 or 3, to go to court. If you can't get out on bond, oh well you sit in jail. ("Speedy" trial? Define speedy...)

    If you insist on a jury trial, the solicitor will be most reluctant to pursue one (they are expensive and very time consuming, and we don't have nearly enough courts to try all cases if everyone insisted on a jury trial), unless he is very nearly certain he can get a conviction. Now, once a while he will misjudge it and someone will walk, but most jury trials do end in conviction, and in punishment for making them go to all that bother they will probably give you a stiff sentence, like the maximum.

    The reality is that not many REALLY INNOCENT people reach the point of a jury trial. Some, yes... but the percentage is certainly small.

    If you actually go through all that and are found not guilty, I can see making the State reimburse you for lost time/earnings while in jail, legal fees and so forth. After all, a "speedy trial" these days is a YEAR OR TWO. Can you imagine knowing that you're innocent and sitting in jail for two years because you were denied bond? Pretty horrible idea. Imagine you have small children while all this is going on; imagine your mortgage is foreclosed while you're not earning.

    As for making cops pay for any kind of erroneous arrest out of their pockets.... basically you'd end up with cops refusing to arrest anybody without a signed confession and a bloody murder weapon AND a witness. Most cops don't make a lot of money and one such erroneous arrest would pretty much wipe them out financially. If you want anarchy and chaos by all means go ahead....

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  2. #72
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    Re: Should individual police officers pay out-of-pocket for wrongfully charged crimes

    Quote Originally Posted by Goshin View Post
    If you insist on a jury trial, the solicitor will be most reluctant to pursue one (they are expensive and very time consuming, and we don't have nearly enough courts to try all cases if everyone insisted on a jury trial), unless he is very nearly certain he can get a conviction. Now, once a while he will misjudge it and someone will walk, but most jury trials do end in conviction, and in punishment for making them go to all that bother they will probably give you a stiff sentence, like the maximum.

    The reality is that not many REALLY INNOCENT people reach the point of a jury trial. Some, yes... but the percentage is certainly small.
    Exactly.

    If you actually go through all that and are found not guilty, I can see making the State reimburse you for lost time/earnings while in jail, legal fees and so forth. After all, a "speedy trial" these days is a YEAR OR TWO. Can you imagine knowing that you're innocent and sitting in jail for two years because you were denied bond? Pretty horrible idea. Imagine you have small children while all this is going on; imagine your mortgage is foreclosed while you're not earning.

    As for making cops pay for any kind of erroneous arrest out of their pockets.... basically you'd end up with cops refusing to arrest anybody without a signed confession and a bloody murder weapon AND a witness. Most cops don't make a lot of money and one such erroneous arrest would pretty much wipe them out financially. If you want anarchy and chaos by all means go ahead....
    Almost exactly.
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  3. #73
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    Re: Should individual police officers pay out-of-pocket for wrongfully charged crimes

    Quote Originally Posted by MaggieD View Post
    Please give us an example of a wrongful arrest.
    Remarkably enough I have come very close to being wrongfully arrested on several occasions.

    Twice involved mistaken identity. In one case the witness recanted when he saw me close up. In the other case the cops let me go when they could not establish that I was the person for whom a felony warrant existed (guy with the same name except for middle).

    The other case was a bit more complex.... it involved a State Trooper who didn't know the law as well as he thought he did. I was in the right.... but if I'd pushed the matter on the side of the road I might have gone to jail. Instead I let him have his way and called the State AG when I got home and got the matter handled.

    That's three times I nearly suffered a wrongful arrest... despite being an ex-cop.... so it's a good bet that it happens more often than some might like to think.

    Now the truth of the matter? I'm pretty darn sure (from prior experience) that 96-98% of the people who are arrested and charged (and either tried or cop a plea) are far from innocent. But I think whenever we DO come up with one that is REALLY AND ACTUALLY INNOCENT (demonstrably so), that he ought to be compensated fully for any losses pertaining to his incarceration and trial. I'm convinced that wouldn't happen very often.

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  4. #74
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    Re: Should individual police officers pay out-of-pocket for wrongfully charged crimes

    Ridiculous. Dozens of people are involved in investigating crimes, and the police don't even have a say on whether those arrested will actually be prosecuted. It's the job of the police to investigate, interrogate witnesses, follow up on alibies, book and document crime scenes and evidence. It's up to the District Attorney who will be prosecuted and for which offenses. It's then up to the judge and jury to determine the guilt or innocense, and pronouce sentence.

    Somebody has a hard-on for cops, methinks.
    Last edited by DiAnna; 03-14-11 at 10:28 PM.

  5. #75
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    Re: Should individual police officers pay out-of-pocket for wrongfully charged crimes

    Quote Originally Posted by Goshin View Post
    Remarkably enough I have come very close to being wrongfully arrested on several occasions. Twice involved mistaken identity. In one case the witness recanted when he saw me close up. In the other case the cops let me go when they could not establish that I was the person for whom a felony warrant existed (guy with the same name except for middle). The other case was a bit more complex.... it involved a State Trooper who didn't know the law as well as he thought he did. I was in the right.... but if I'd pushed the matter on the side of the road I might have gone to jail. Instead I let him have his way and called the State AG when I got home and got the matter handled.
    Still, nearly isn't quite the same thing. And...had you been arrested on any one of those Goshin, the police officer wasn't guilty of malfeasance or intentional misconduct. Had you been arrested, while I love you dearly, I'm not at all sure you would be entitled to file a lawsuit and sue the police officers involved for negligence or false arrest. False arrest indicates no probable cause. They were, in each case it sounds like, doing their job.[/QUOTE]

    That's three times I nearly suffered a wrongful arrest... despite being an ex-cop.... so it's a good bet that it happens more often than some might like to think.
    I've been around the block and back. I've been drawn down on by a copper and told, "Just stand still, ma'am," asked to get out of the car and place my hands on the hood, been accused of drunk driving because I had a 7/11 coffee cup in my hand at 3 AM in the morning. In neither of these three cases was I arrested. Just a copper doing his job. Had I been taken down to the station, I wouldn't have been thinkin' of suing.....I'd have just been glad the misunderstanding was straightened out.

    Now the truth of the matter? I'm pretty darn sure (from prior experience) that 96-98% of the people who are arrested and charged (and either tried or cop a plea) are far from innocent. But I think whenever we DO come up with one that is REALLY AND ACTUALLY INNOCENT (demonstrably so), that he ought to be compensated fully for any losses pertaining to his incarceration and trial. I'm convinced that wouldn't happen very often.
    I agree with you -- 96-98% of people who are charged are guilty -- whether they're found guilty in a court of law or plea down. As for being compensated for any losses? Nah, I'm just not there. Unless there's been some misconduct somewhere on the part of "the state."
    Last edited by MaggieD; 03-14-11 at 10:47 PM.
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  6. #76
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    Re: Should individual police officers pay out-of-pocket for wrongfully charged crimes

    I chose other. Their are some situations that warrant compensation but not as a general rule. I have seen abuse by law enforcement and the DAs office that while "legal" was unethical.

    An example of this is someone I know. Law enforcement charged him 3 different times with charges and then let the time limitation expire (1 year). If he had been unable to bond out he would have spent 3 years in jail while never having been convicted of a crime. I wont get into all the details but I fully believe that it was intentional because of the long feud this person had had on a personal level with local law enforcement. I believe they knew full good and well they had nowhere nearly enough evidence to make a conviction but used it as a means of punishment or the removal of this person.

    Also their have been some rare occasions where the judicial system has clearly and sometimes intentionally convicted innocent persons. While this normally carries prison time, the time isnt nearly enough. Fairly recently (cant remember the case off hand, will look for it) a judge intentionally imprisoned a innocent person which spent over 20 years in prison. In return the judge was sentenced to like 6 years. I believe at a min. they should server a equal amount of time.

  7. #77
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    Re: Should individual police officers pay out-of-pocket for wrongfully charged crimes

    Quote Originally Posted by Baralis View Post
    I chose other. Their are some situations that warrant compensation but not as a general rule. I have seen abuse by law enforcement and the DAs office that while "legal" was unethical.

    An example of this is someone I know. Law enforcement charged him 3 different times with charges and then let the time limitation expire (1 year). If he had been unable to bond out he would have spent 3 years in jail while never having been convicted of a crime. I wont get into all the details but I fully believe that it was intentional because of the long feud this person had had on a personal level with local law enforcement. I believe they knew full good and well they had nowhere nearly enough evidence to make a conviction but used it as a means of punishment or the removal of this person.

    Also their have been some rare occasions where the judicial system has clearly and sometimes intentionally convicted innocent persons. While this normally carries prison time, the time isnt nearly enough. Fairly recently (cant remember the case off hand, will look for it) a judge intentionally imprisoned a innocent person which spent over 20 years in prison. In return the judge was sentenced to like 6 years. I believe at a min. they should server a equal amount of time.
    OMG. If that person can prove it, then I believe he should be awarded damages.

    Any time someone can prove misconduct by law enforcement or the judiciary, I think they ought to be able to sue and collect damages. That "someone" you know sounds like the perfect plaintiff. Put me on the jury.
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  8. #78
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    Re: Should individual police officers pay out-of-pocket for wrongfully charged crimes

    Quote Originally Posted by MaggieD View Post
    [LIST][*]Police officers should not be held personally responsible for discharging their duties within the confines of those duties and responsibilities.
    Really? Considering other professions the worker is held responsible for his actions it seems to be only in government the words accountability and responsibility is a foreign concept.



    Quote Originally Posted by Patrickt View Post
    Right now, police officers can be sued. But to say they should pay out of their pockets if a defendant is acquited is silly.
    Why is it silly? Government workers willingly **** people over because 9 out of 10 times nothing will happen to them. Maybe holding them directly responsible might actually light the dim bulb that is the mind of the state worker.

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrickt View Post

    And, I hate to break the news to you but in lawsuits against the police, citizens who are on the jury are far more likely to side with police than they are with criminals.
    Because we as a society have this mentality that the words of a government thug is apparently on par with the word of God.
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  9. #79
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    Re: Should individual police officers pay out-of-pocket for wrongfully charged crimes

    Quote Originally Posted by MaggieD View Post
    You are wrong. Being found not guilty doesn't even mean you won't lose a civil lawsuit for the same conduct. Just because the state couldn't meet the standard of ""proof beyond a reasonable doubt does not necessarily mean one is innocent.

    A jury's choice is Guilty or Not Guilty. It isn't Guilty or Innocent.
    I don't agree whatsoever. How our court system works is that we are innocent until proven guilty. If you were never proven guilty, then you were always innocent.

    Just because you think people are most likely not really innocent, doesn't mean they should be treated as if they were guilty of the crime. Since the possibility exist's that one could be charged of a crime that they are completely innocent of, mean's you must treat that individual as if they are innocent. So ALL people that were accused and resulted in a not guilty trial, means they were NOT guilty of the specific crime and any negative results of the trial and accusation, i think, must be compensated for.
    There are a lot of cases where business' get compensated for when an false accusation results in reduced reputation. I think it should be the same if the government/police accused you for something, because it can harm your business reputation and has many other negative results if there is jail-time and other things.

    I chose that both the cops and the courts should be held liable. This depends on whether the policeman was at error ( meaning that if he followed his protocol and didn't make any ridiculously jumps the connections of the evidence just to screw someone over), or the court should compensate for the protocol and job of the officer. This way policeman can do their jobs (as long as they are doing what they are supposed to), and the court pays the Not-Guilty person for all negative impacts of the accusation (because this is just a cost for protecting the people, and it is known and being compensated for that some people may be wrongfully prosecuted).

  10. #80
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    Re: Should individual police officers pay out-of-pocket for wrongfully charged crimes

    Employers are vicariously liable for the torts of their employees that are committed during the course of employment.

    Was a tort committed? Was the person who committed a tort an employee? Was the employee acting in the course of employment when the tort was committed?

    Answer yes to all three, and the employer is liable.
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