Cops regularly perjure themselves - Blue Lies.Though few officers will confess to lying -- after all, it's a crime -- work by researchers and a 1990s commission appointed to examine police corruption shows there's a tacit agreement among many officers that lying about how evidence is seized keeps criminals off the street....
Criminal-justice researchers say it's difficult to quantify how often perjury is being committed. According to a 1992 survey, prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges in Chicago said they thought that, on average, perjury by police occurs 20% of the time in which defendants claim evidence was illegally seized.
"It is an open secret long shared by prosecutors, defense lawyers and judges that perjury is widespread among law enforcement officers," though it's difficult to detect in specific cases, said Alex Kozinski, a federal appeals-court judge, in the 1990s. To stem the problem, some criminal-justice researchers and academic experts have called for doing polygraphs on officers who take the stand or requiring officers to tape their searches.
A Supreme Court ruling this month, however, suggests that a simpler, though controversial, solution may be to weaken a longstanding part of U.S. law, known as the exclusionary rule. The 5-4 ruling in Herring v. U.S. that evidence obtained from certain unlawful arrests may nevertheless be used against a criminal defendant could indicate the U.S. is inching closer to a system in which officers might not be tempted to lie to prevent evidence from being thrown out.
Before Mapp, the policeman typically testified that he
stopped the defendant for little or no reason, searched him,
and found narcotics on his person. This had the ring of
truth. It was an illegal search . . . but the evidence was
admissible . . . . Since it made no difference, the policeman
testified truthfully. After the decision in Mapp, it made a
great deal of difference. For the first few months, New
York policemen continued to tell the truth about the
circumstances of their searches, with the result that the
evidence was suppressed. Then the police made the great
discovery that if the defendant drops the narcotics on the
ground, after which the policeman arrests him, then the
search is reasonable and the evidence is admissible. Spend
a few hours in the New York City Criminal Court
nowadays, and you will hear case after case in which a
policeman testifies that the defendant dropped the
narcotics on the ground, whereupon the policeman arrested