Police procedure errors that impact criminal charges

On Behalf of Longman Jakuback

Law enforcement plays an important role in maintaining order within society.

However, even the most well-intentioned officers can make procedural errors that have significant consequences.

Incomplete or inaccurate documentation

The Baton Rouge Police Department’s UCR report shows that 2020 saw 2,090 violent crimes and 10,726 property crimes, but only 556 violent and 1,172 property crimes cleared during the year. One reason some crimes do not get cleared is incomplete or inaccurate documentation. When officers fail to thoroughly document the details of an arrest or investigation, they can compromise the credibility of the case.

Failure to secure evidence properly

Securing evidence is paramount in criminal investigations. Lapses in evidence handling can impact the case’s integrity. If evidence gets mishandled, contaminated or lost, it may become inadmissible in court.

Violation of constitutional rights

Police officers need to adhere to procedures outlined in the Constitution to ensure fair treatment of individuals. Any violation of these rights, such as an unlawful search or seizure, can lead to the exclusion of evidence. This error weakens the prosecution’s case and may result in the dismissal of charges.

Inadequate Miranda warnings

Failing to inform a suspect of his or her Miranda rights to remain silent and have an attorney present during questioning can render subsequent statements inadmissible. This procedural error can significantly impact the prosecution’s ability to use the suspect’s statements against them in court.

Misidentification of suspects

In the moment, witnesses or law enforcement officers may misidentify a suspect. This can lead to wrongful arrests and charges against innocent individuals. Therefore, police should conduct thorough investigations and follow proper identification procedures.

While law enforcement officers are responsible for upholding justice, procedural errors can occur. Recognizing and addressing procedural mistakes helps maintain the fairness and integrity of the criminal justice system.

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