Law enforcement officers play a critical role in promoting and ensuring safety and security in our society, but they are public servants, and that means they serve all of us. Most police officers see this as a sacred duty, but far too often, law enforcement officers see themselves as above the law, engaging in wrongful behavior for a variety of reasons. That conduct can manifest itself in different ways, from using illegal means to obtain evidence to the use of unnecessary or excessive force or the planting of evidence to support an arrest or mask other illegal behavior.
When police have acted improperly, you are not without recourse. Here are some of the ways you can protect yourself:
- Seek to have evidence thrown out—Under principle known as the “exclusionary rule,” evidence that is obtained improperly may be ruled inadmissible and not subject to review by a judge or jury at trial. This may include evidence obtained through an improper search (without probable cause or a valid warrant) or it may involve evidence planted at the scene of a crime. It can also include evidence obtained from an unnamed or anonymous “witness,” if the police cannot establish the reliability (or existence) of the witness.
- Lawsuits against law enforcement officers—Based on the facts of your case, you may be able to allege violation of your civil rights in court, as well as violation of state or federal constitutional rights. If you have sustained a physical injury, you may file a personal injury claim.
- Ask the court for a “consent decree”: If you can show a pattern of wrongful behavior by a police department or officers within a department, you may be able to ask the court for a consent decree, which allows the court to exercise oversight of a police department and inquire about conduct, policies and other actions tied to alleged police misconduct.
Contact the Attorneys at Mallon & Tranger
We offer a free initial consultation to anyone who has suffered any type of loss or injury as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another person. To set up a meeting, contact us online or call us at 732-410-6094 (toll free at 877-320-0692) for an appointment. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.