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Police Officer as a Witness: A Practical Perspective Defense View (From Basic Course for Prosecutors XII, V 2, P 235-280, 1987 - See NCJ-112901)

NCJ Number
M B Adelman
Date Published
46 pages
To assist prosecutors in understanding defense strategies in dealing with police officers as witnesses for the prosecution, this paper on defense preparation covers pre-court contact with the officer, arraignment, preliminary hearing, discovery, cross-examination, and summation.
Advice for defense counsel in precourt contacts with officers covers such situations as the client in custody, arranging a surrender, and representation at a lineup. Defense counsel is advised to seek information on the case from the arresting officer at the arraignment and also query the officer on issues pertinent to the bail decision. Among the issues discussed in association with the preliminary hearing are the prosecution's direct case and cross-examination of the officer. After discussing defense discover of police records, the paper focuses on issues at hearings on pretrial motions and at the pretrial hearings, such as right to counsel, defendant identification, search and seizure, custodial interrogation, and probable cause for the officer to seize the defendant for questioning. Issues discussed in the cross-examination of officers as witnesses at trial include defendant identification, actions of an undercover officer, possible entrapment, and the testimony of an officer as an expert witness. The paper concludes with a discussion of the defense's handling of police testimony in the summation and in the charge to the jury.