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Officer’s Subject to Discipline for Seeking Justice

Tesitify or face discipline says LAPD Deputy Chief David Doan.  LAPD issued a new directive telling officers not to request the dismissal of traffic tickets where they had no independent recollection of the events of the ticket.  Does the Deputy Chief of LAPD really need to tell his officers that they should take notes to help aid their memory of past events?  I suppose that’s better than him telling them to simply make stuff up when they are testifying.

Testimony in court is really quite simple.  Tell the truth.  If one cannot remember a past event, then they should simply say that they do not remember.  When an officer has no independent recollection of a past event, a ticket is not enough to justify a conviction.  However, if reviewing a ticket or notes or a police report refreshes an officer’s recollection, that is perfectly acceptable.  Telling an officer not to request that a case be dismissed or basing their testimony on what is written on a past document is not sufficient.  This would deprive the defendant the right of cross-examination, and that is in violation of a basic constitutional right at trial.  Maybe Deputy Chief Doan should re-think his directive.

This article leaves me with serious questions:  Why does the LAPD care if an officer asks to have a ticket dismissed?  Does LAPD have some sort of incentive to issue and prosecute traffic tickets?  I shutter to use the word “quota”, but is there one?

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