When you are accused of any type of criminal activity, your right to a fair trial is guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. A fair trial presumes that everyone involved is invested in the equal application of the law, properly convicting the guilty, and acquitting those who are not guilty by legal standards. Of course, not every person will always tell the whole truth in court, even under oath. The concern becomes even more serious when the individual providing false, misleading, questionable testimony is an officer of the law. False testimony by police officers seems to be a fairly significant problem in Northern Illinois, as the Chicago Police Department has announced that six officers are now under investigation for false testimony regarding cases in which they were involved.
The Chicago Tribune recently conducted an investigation which allegedly found more than a dozen examples of officers making false or questionable statements in court. This number does not include many more officers who may have created false reports but never testified in the courtroom. The involved cases ranged from large-scale investigations to small-time operations, and reportedly included testimony regarding a $50,000 brick of cocaine and a $30 bag of heroin. Some officers, according to the newspaper investigation, would even lie about the direction they were driving at a given time. Now, it appears, the Department is attempting to address the problem.
Promises of Action
“Police officers take an oath to enforce the law with the highest degree of honesty and integrity,” said a Chicago Police Department spokesman in a prepared statement. “And there is simply no tolerance or exemption for anything less.” The spokesman also confirmed that Internal Affairs is looking into the testimony of at least six officers. Depending upon the findings of the investigation, he said, the officers in question could face disciplinary action. The Department will also be conferring with prosecutors to determine the next steps in each case.
If the Chicago Police Department finds that any of the officers provided false testimony, it could call into question their credibility in any case on which they worked. It is difficult to say for sure how those other cases may be affected, but there is certainly cause for concern.
Get the Help You Need
Being accused of a crime is always serious. If you have been charged, however, based on a false report or statement made by a police officer, the road ahead can be even tougher. To discuss your case, contact a Joliet criminal defense lawyer. Attorney Jack L. Zaremba is a former prosecutor who knows the lengths to which some officers will go to secure a conviction no matter what the actual truth may be, and he is prepared to help protect your rights. Call 815-740-4025 to schedule your free initial consultation today.