Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Defense Lawyers Vindicated

On 6/1/08, Chicago Police Officer Kieth Herrera went public for the first time about massive corruption within his "Special Operations Section" (dubbed SOS) in some of Chicago's toughest neighborhoods. Up until now, his ratting out was done strictly with the FBI. His appearance on 60 minutes detailed the rampant corruption within the SOS that, in summary, amount to uncontrolled police state tactics to "get the job done" - i.e. use whatever means are necessary to get drugs and guns off the street. This includes beating suspects, warrantless and unjustified searches, lying in reports and in court - all in the name of "justice."

Now, I could go on a rant about the police and their ridiculous rationalizations about how they HAVE to break the law to get at these criminals. However, the important point for folks (i.e., the public who are typically silent on these points) to remember is that it is exposing exactly this sort of illegal overreaching that defense lawyers do every day in this country. And, I would be quick to add, that we are really only ones doing it. The DA's don't - they work WITH these guys every day and consider them partners in their valient mission. The judges don't because even though they can't honestly believe that the police are always honest, they really have nothing else to go on other than a pissing contest between defendants and cops. It is the defense lawyer that investigates and presents this corruption and overreaching to courts. It is a very difficult uphill battle most of the time but the legal basis is usually a 4th (searches), 5th (Miranda, confrontation) or 6th Amendment (right to an attorney) claim. Some call them "technicalities" but we call them mechanisms form achieving some semblance of fairness.

For an excellent article on the "defense of defense attorneys" (by a federal judge no less!!) click here. Yes we matter.

See also:
Police Interrogations
Legally, Police CAN Lie

John A. Birdsall, Birdsall Law Offices, S.C.
135 W. Wells St., Ste 214, Milwaukee, WI 53203
414.831.5465 -

No comments: