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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hypothetically: in a court room if the prosecutions only defense is the testimony of an officer what makes his word any better than mine?
 

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Lawyer and Gun Activist
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Nothing other than the opinions of the jurors on your case.
The judge will give an instruction saying that law enforcement are not entitled to more credibility just due to their occupation, if you ask for such an instruction.

And you can question potential jurors in voir dire on this subject. Ask if any of them would tend to believe what a cop says more than what any other witness says just because he or she is a cop. Use your jury strikes to knocks such people off your jury panel.

But the bottom line is that if you testify that X happened, and the cop says he witnessed the thing happen and it happened and it was really Y, not X, then there's a good chance they'll believe the cop.
 

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In theory, No. In reality, Yes.

You should be aware that when you're in the defendant's chair, and there is an LEO sitting in the witness seat telling a different story than you are, you already have two strikes against you in the eyes of a judge or jury.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
well its a traffic offense and will most likely be a bench trial because there is no point in me motioning for a jury trial. the state wont offer it and i would have to post the bond for the jurors in case I lose.
 

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I was on trial once, and the cop's story was exaggerated enough that the jury didn't believe him. It helped that his story didn't match up with the other officer's, and I was acquitted.

In your case, if there are no other witnesses, video, physical evidence, etc. and it's just your testimony vs. the cop, you might have a tougher time of it. But if you are absolutely not guilty then fight it.
 

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Experienced trial lawyers say a bench trial is just a slow and expensive guilty plea.

I have seen one pro se defendant in a traffic case (reckless driving, speeding, improper lane change) get an acquittal, but this was a jury trial. And he had two cops take the stand against him: the one he supposedly almost sideswiped, and the second one who came along later and took reports from both parties, because supposedly he made some kind of "admission" to the investigating cop.

He argued to the jury (himself-- no lawyer!) that he wasn't at fault and never said otherwise to anybody, and naturally the second cop will back up the first cop's version of events, and that first cop was too embarassed to admit he was the one who almost caused the accident (there was no accident, just a near-miss). And the jury found that this one single citizen's testimony was enough to cast reasonable doubt on the cops' stories.

P.S. Don't count on this happening again anytime soon. But I was there and saw it happen in court that day.
 

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Definitely go to court.

My Dad's been a cop for over 50 years(seriously), his advice has always been "Make em prove you're in the wrong"
 

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Most traffic stops will be recorded with video and audio so it won't just be the word of the Officer. You can always file an Open Records Request first to see what they have.
 

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Traffic court... What fun.... :? My experience is the judge is prejudiced toward the officer's testimony. The officer is the "professional", and his word is gold, even though his testimony is plainly a conflict of interest because he is the accuser as well. Should you have uttered any equivocation or have indicated an "I don't know" (regarding anything) ... You are toast. I prevailed in most traffic cases for which I was in court. However, the judges usually asked me if I was a lawyer afterward. :wink:
 

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I won in traffic court one time... I have no idea how I did it. I guess it helped that there were two of us, and the officer got a lot of facts wrong about the incident, and I guess I proved it well enough to the judge and she let me go. Man that officer was angry.
 
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