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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27109
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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What if a Police officer makes a false statement on a police

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What if a Police officer makes a false statement on a police report ? Is this against the law ?
Hello Jacustomer,

If he deliberately falsifies a police report, then yes it would be against the law and could cost him his job and potentially get him prosecuted. But in the overwhelming majority of instances these discrepancies between what a police officer sees and what the defendant himself recalls are simply differences in opinions or sloppy police paperwork.

In any case, a defendant would get an opportunity to contest the evidence at a hearing or trial. And that's where the officer's intent would likely be discovered. Disputes in facts are what criminal cases are always all about.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

wouldnt it be considered negligent misrepresentation of material facts ? Even if it was not intentional , for example , if in a burglary a cop reports that the window locks was found unlocked but then took pictures and the pictures show the windows locked ?


I suppose it could be. But it doesn't have to be. You need to hear the evidence to know.

I don't know what the situation here is, but that sort of a mistake is wonderful impeachment fodder for when an officer takes the stand. Most defense attorneys love errors of this kind in police reports because it challenges the officer's credibility and powers of observation and can creates reasonable doubt which can win a defendant the case.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Give me an example how I could impeach them on the stand with this error ?


The error is the report states one window lock it locked one is unlocked

the pictures show both the locks locked.


When the officer takes the stand and testifies to the fact that one window was unlocked, on cross examination your lawyer can ask him whether at the time right after the incident he reported that one window was unlocked. If he denies it, his recollection can be refreshed with the police report. If he admits it, you've done damage if you know how to cross examine and don't ask more questions than you should when you get the answer you want.

Incidentally, I'm not defending this officer. I have no idea what he's done and if you feel he has made deliberate lies, the report to Internal Affairs is exactly what you'd want to do. But non-lawyers tend not to see the obvious because they are naturally fearful about being convicted on the basis of false evidence. But to a lawyer, every time a police officer makes a mistake, it's a gift to the defense because it can be used against him in the hands of a skillful cross examiner.

Hope that explains it better.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Can you cite the FL law for negligent misrepresentation ?


It's a civil cause of action. You can see the statutory elements and get some Florida case citations here.

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