By Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal
Today I’m continuing my series on the top 5 police officer attitudes I’ll see when defending cases. These are police attitudes I see from police officers while on duty.
#3 — CYA
That’s right. Cover your a$$.
One of the psychological pressures on officers is maintaining their livelihood. They don’t want to lose their job or their pension over any single case.
I see this one mostly in cases where there is an alleged victim involved such as domestic assault, sexual assault or complicated theft schemes to name a few. A police officer knows an upset accuser (or the accusers parents) can cause them all sorts of headaches with his or her superiors at the station.
For assault/ family violence cases police are worried if they leave a couple warring in their home after a 911 call — one of them could be killed later in the evening.
On sexual abuse cases whether involving adults or children, a police officer is going to have to have a really good explanation to their superiors as to why they told an angry person claiming to be a victim, “no, we don’t believe you.”
Police will often file cases as “grand jury referrals” which is their way of filing a case with the District Attorney’s office while expressing an underlying doubt about the case. It is a case where they don’t make an arrest prior to grand jury. It can be seen as unwritten permission to dump a case. Grand juries may still indict, though.
It sucks to be on the receiving end of a case where you suspect it was filed because the officer was doing CYA work. It has to be dealt with like anything else.
*Jeremy Rosenthal is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and licensed by the Supreme Court of Texas.