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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 51700 Find in a Library
Title: IN WASHINGTON, A NEW ZEAL FOR PROSECUTING POLICE
Journal: POLICE MAGAZINE  Volume:1  Issue:5  Dated:(NOVEMBER 1978)  Pages:15-20
Author(s): A D GILMAN
Corporate Author: Criminal Justice Publications, Inc
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 6
Sponsoring Agency: Criminal Justice Publications, Inc
New York, NY 10017
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE TREND TOWARD FEDERAL INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION OF POLICE OFFICERS ON CIVIL RIGHTS CHARGES STEMMING FROM ACTS FOR WHICH THE OFFICERS ALREADY HAVE FACED CRIMINAL CHARGES IN STATE COURTS IS ANALYZED.
Abstract: THE PACE OF FEDERAL PROSECUTIONS OF POLICE, USUALLY IN CASES INVOLVING WHITE OFFICERS AND MINORITY VICTIMS, PICKED UP WHEN GRIFFIN BELL BEGAN HIS TENURE AS U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL. ALTHOUGH THE U.S. CONSTITUTION PERMITS DUAL PROSECUTIONS OF DEFENDANTS UNDER SEPARATE STATE AND FEDERAL LAWS EVEN WHEN THE CHARGES STEM FROM THE SAME ACT, FEDERAL POLICY TRADITIONALLY HAD NOT BEEN TO BECOME INVOLVED IF THE STATE HAD ALREADY TAKEN ACTION. ATTORNEY GENERAL BELL CHANGED THAT POLICY, IN EFFECT MAKING THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE A COURT OF REVIEW FOR STATE PROCEEDINGS INVOLVING POLICE OFFICERS. OFFICERS WHO ARE AFFECTED BY THE NEW FEDERAL POLICY MAY FEEL THEIR CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTION AGAINST DOUBLE JEOPARDY HAS BEEN BREACHED. BUT THE U.S. SUPREME COURT RULING THAT A SEPARATE AND DISTINCT PROSECUTION UNDER A SEPARATE AND DISTINCT LAW DOES NOT CONSTITUTE DOUBLE JEOPARDY PROVIDES SOUND LEGAL GROUNDS FOR THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT'S ACTIONS. THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CLAIMS IT IS RESPONDING TO AN APPARENT WAVE OF VIOLENCE BY AUTHORITIES AGAINST MEXICAN-AMERICANS AND OTHER MINORITIES. THE FEDERAL OFFICIAL RESPONSIBLE FOR OVERSEEING PROSECUTION OF POLICE ABUSE CASES SAYS THE PURPOSE OF SUCH PROSECUTIONS IS TO PUNISH FOR VIOLATIONS OF FEDERAL LAW, TO DETER FURTHER POLICE BRUTALITY, AND TO STRENGTHEN LAW ENFORCEMENT AT ALL LEVELS. CRITICS OF THE FEDERAL POLICY SAY IT IS POLITICALLY MOTIVATED. SOME POLICE AGENCIES AND ORGANIZATIONS HAVE REFUSED TO COOPERATE WITH FEDERAL INVESTIGATIONS OF OFFICERS. THERE HAVE BEEN COMPLAINTS THAT THE FEDERAL POLICY HAS DAMAGED POLICE MORALE AND REDUCED COOPERATION AMONG THE VARIOUS LEVELS OF LAW ENFORCEMENT. HOWEVER, THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE POSITION IS THAT THE FEDERAL PROSECUTIONS ARE NOT AN ATTEMPT TO PREEMPT THE POLICING FUNCTIONS OF STATES AND CITIES, BUT RATHER SERVE TO ENCOURAGE STATE AND LOCAL OFFICIALS TO BE MORE RESPONSIVE TO THE PROBLEM OF POLICE BRUTALITY. (LKM)
Index Term(s): Abuse of authority; Constitutional Rights/Civil Liberties; Federal law violations; Intergovernmental relations; Police Brutality; Prosecution; US Department of Justice
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=51700

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