So a question I ask jurors when I am picking a jury is….. what do we as citizens expect of our police officers. Do we expect them to seek the truth? Find a way to win? is I am too busy to do more a good excuse?
In these all to serious cases that I handle of sex accusations often the investigation is quick and simple and very rudimentary. Examples are that the standard investigation I have seen is that child and adult accusers are interviewed once…. and once only. I cannot tell you the number of times I have gone to trial with cases where a child gives information that is totally contradictory to other known facts and there is never any police follow up to these issues.
For instance. A child says that an event occurred and they told their mother all about it. Mother says she never had any idea there was a problem. Most parents if a child told them something happened and they told a teacher and the parent asked the teacher about the situation would either question the child or the teacher because someone is not telling the truth. However in these cases no follow up is ever done. In fact much of the time different police officers interview different witnesses and no one officer actually reviews all the evidence. Further the parents of the children are never allowed to challenge the veracity of statements as the police and social workers tell them that would be inappropriate and not supportive of the child. Now we support lies and don’t look for the truth. Other cases I have seen is one child saying something happened and that the sibling was present when it happened. When that sibling is asked they deny it ever occurred. However, once again they never go back and ask further questions. In fact they never ask any hard questions at all. All they do is see what child says and never try to test that by asking hard questions seeking the truth. Is that what we want?
These charges carry life sentences. Touching a child over the clothes carries a life sentence in Colorado. One child says my uncle touched me and my brother saw the whole thing. Brother says he never saw uncle do anything to that child. Should we go back and say “why would your brother say he didn’t see it?”
Well you might say that’s just two kids. But really it is the tip of the iceberg. I once had a case where the child claimed she was texting about the events to a friend as they occurred. The police never checked the phone and when we asked to see the texts they were “deleted”. when the “friend” was asked about getting texts the friend said he never received any such texts. So would you think they would go back and ask her why she claimed to text during the events? well guess what they never did. The first person to ask questions about that was me at the trial.
Claiming events occurred at places where it is proven they couldn’t have been, in front of persons who deny such events, details that do not comply with possibilities. One interview!!! Usually less than an hour, no physical evidence and you can find yourself facing 12 citizens who are never told they are deciding if you should go to prison potentially for the rest of your life? Does that scare you? It should!!
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