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NCJ Number: 98189 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Enforcement Workshop - The Expert Witness in Suits Against Police, Part 1
Journal: Criminal Law Bulletin  Volume:21  Issue:3  Dated:(May-June 1985)  Pages:244-253
Author(s): J J Fyfe
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 10
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The author presents observations stemming from his participation as an expert witness in suits arising from allegations of unnecessary or excessive use of force by police.
Abstract: In such cases, the plaintiff is disadvantaged by a lack of jury knowledge or jury oversimplistic concepts of the nature of police work and by jury conceptions of police as the 'good guys' and the plaintiff as the 'bad guy.' Moreover, plaintiffs in such cases are usually young, lower class males, frequently from minority groups, who are likely to appear less credible than police officers testifying against them. Questions of police blameworthiness in such cases often are further complicated because they often involve well meaning and courageous officers whose inadequate preparation converted a relatively minor incident into disaster. Another burden on plaintiffs is that jurors are taxpayers who ultimately pay judgements against police. In addition, police officers and their attorneys sometimes suffer from an ill-founded sense of invulnerability against liability. Finally, as many wrongful-use-of-force cases involve vehicle stops in which the officer has not fully observed well articulated police principles and policies concerning such stops, police defense teams often find themselves on the losing end of verdicts. A total of 23 footnotes are provided.
Index Term(s): Complaints against police; Expert witnesses; Police as witnesses; Police Brutality; Police testimony; Police training; Public Opinion of the Police; Witness credibility
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