Martin & Kent, L.L.C. Martin & Kent, L.L.C.

attorneys

These constables did more than blunder

Sometimes criminal cases are dismissed because the police committed an illegal act during a search or made some other procedural error while arresting a suspect or collecting evidence.

These illegal acts or mistakes are often referred by some as "mere technicalities," as if they were just some judge's peculiar sense of a minor peccadillo. Of course, the "technicalities" are typically tied to the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, so they are not really technicalities, but are fundamental to the institution of justice. 

Without them, the police could do whatever they want, and arrest anyone, fabricate evidence and behave in a manner antithetical to every element of the rule of law.

Typically, these incidents happen in relatively isolated cases, or at least we hope they do, and they are infrequent in their occurrence.

One police department in Illinois, however, has gone beyond these procedural errors and even beyond "dysfunctional." An Illinois State's Attorney has become so frustrated with their "botched investigations, mishandled evidence and [] reckless[ness] with firearms," that he has refused to take any case referrals from the department.

His letter states he is unable to assert their credibility or reliability to a judge or jury, and so will not prosecute any of their cases.

The department officers apparently have become intoxicated at clubs in the city and drawn their weapons on civilians. They have also been accused of setting a minimum number of vehicles to be towed by a towing company owned by a relative of one of officers.

They have also mishandled evidence in criminal cases and have forced the state's attorney to drop 21 prosecutions.

While police departments often violate the rights of suspects with constitutional violations, and are criticized by defense attorneys, it is rare indeed for a department to be called "nonfunctional" by a prosecutor.

Stltoday.com, "Illinois prosecutor won't touch cases handled by discredited Brooklyn police," Kevin McDermott, April 9, 2015

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