Schlueter & Schlueter has substantial experience in handling alleged crimes-against-peace-officer cases.
1. What are crimes-against-peace-officer cases?
Crimes-against-peace-officer cases all involve alleged offenses in which the alleged victim is a peace officer, such as a police officer or a deputy sheriff. These crimes are found in the California Penal Code. The most common are so-called resisting, delaying, or obstructing a peace officer in the performance of his duty (Penal Code § 148); battery upon a peace officer in the performance of his duty (Penal Code § 243(b)); and resisting an executive officer by force or violence (Penal Code§ 69, a felony).
The government typically prosecutes these cases aggressively, even harshly. This is true for several reasons.
District Attorney of any county is an elected position, as is, usually, the office of the City Attorney when the City attorney handles crimes-against-peace-officer prosecutions. Because these are elected positions, District Attorneys and City Attorneys are sensitive to their standing with the local constabulary. They see support of law enforcement as necessary to maximize their likelihood of re-election.
Law enforcement has a vested interest in the prosecution of crimes-against-peace-officer cases and law enforcement often has reason to take particular interest in such prosecutions. It may be shocking to hear – less shocking if you have actually been the victim of police abuse – but peace officers sometimes go overboard and abuse persons that they encounter in the streets. They are well aware that this can lead to civil-rights lawsuits with them as the target.
But the quickest way of getting rid of a civil-rights lawsuit before it happens, often times, is to make sure that the actual victim is arrested and prosecuted for a crime against a peace officer. This is widely known among officers. Also, by accusing the actual victim of committing a crime against a peace officer, the officer can deflect critical scrutiny within the department of his abusive behavior.
The public is sentimental about peace officers
The other reason these cases are hard that the public – and often judges – are sentimental about peace officers. They project upon peace officers a virtue that is often unrealistic or downright misguided. Successfully defending a crime-against-peace-officers case often requires the criminal-defense attorney to strip away from jurors their cherished belief that peace officers are simply better than ordinary people.
3. We are experienced.
That is why you need experienced attorneys on your side if you are accused of a crime against a peace officer. And we have the experience you need. We have handled many crimes-against-peace-officer cases, and, when appropriate and necessary, we have taken such cases to trial. Our experience with such cases is much deeper than the ordinary criminal-defense attorney. Indeed, attorneys seek out our advice on such cases because of our expertise in them.
4. We know what to look for.
Based on that expertise, we know what to look for when we prepare our crime-against-peace-officers case for trial. We know what information to obtain from the government and from other sources.
We know how to obtain information on police databases that tracks movements of officers. This sometimes contradicts the official crime report.
We know how to get recordings of police radio transmissions and dispatch records. This can show what really happened – versus the official version of the alleged crime.
Police personnel records
We know how to get access to police personnel records. These can show if an officer has been the subject of accusations of abuse of suspects, or accusations of dishonesty or writing false police reports.
We know how to get secret use-of-force reports that are prepared when an officer uses force against a suspect or fires his firearm at somebody. Attorneys for police departments usually vigorously resist disgorging these reports.
We know how to get videos of the incident, when such videos exist. In the case that was discussed above, where our client was taken down and Tasered, the ambient video was a crucial component of winning dismissal of the charges.
To get the records described above requires a vigorous defense team. We are such a team.
5. We know the law.
Based on our extensive experience, we know the law of crimes against peace officers. We know the ins and outs of what officers can and cannot do – and when what they do torpedoes a crimes-against-peace-officers prosecution. We know what persons can and cannot do when given an order by a peace officer – and when resisting is not really resisting at all. We know the ins and outs of the crimes-against-peace-officer statutes because we have studied them in every case we have defended. Some are relatively complicated, but we know their contours and their contents. We know special jury instructions that should be provided to the judge and we know to demanded that they be read to the jury, to ensure a fair trial and to ensure that the jury knows all of the law that favors the defendant.
6. We believe.
Some criminal-defense attorneys have no heart for these cases. These cases are hard. People are sentimental about peace officers. These cases take great effort to successfully defend.
But we believe. We believe because we have seen so many people abused by police and prosecuted to cover up their victim-hood. We give our clients the benefit of every doubt when they are accused of crimes against peace officers.
7. Call us.
So if you are accused of a crime against a peace officer, call us. Our number is (909) 381-4888.