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Police Procedures & Practices Liability 

Consultant & Trainer

13thjuror Use of Force Training Seminars

Consultant: Less Lethal Force and Lethal Use of Force; Shooting Decisions;Use of Force Policy Design for Deadly Force Shooting Decisions; Safe Custody Seizure Arrest Protocols. 

Auditing of Law Enforcement Policies and Practices for "Best Practices" litigation inoculation.

Can a cop really do that?

Public employees are “the members of a community most likely to have informed and definite opinions” about a wide range of matters related, directly or indirectly, to their employment. Courts balance the First Amendment interest of the employee against “the interest of the State, as an employer, in promoting the efficiency of the public services it performs through its employees.”...42 U.S.C. § 1985(2) protects expert witnesses...because individuals working in law enforcement "are often in the best position to know" about the occurrence of official misconduct, "it is essential" that such well-placed individuals "be able to speak out freely" about official misconduct...Kinney v. Weaver, 367 F.3d 337 (5th Cir. 04/15/2004); Swartzwedler v. McNeilly, 297 F.3d 228 (3d Cir. 07/19/2002); Hoover v. Morales, 164 F.3d 221 (5th Cir. 12/31/1998); SHELTON POLICE UNION, INC. v. VOCCOLA, 125 F.Supp.2d 604 (D. Conn. 01/02/2001)

In determining whether expert testimony on the use of force by a police officer is properly admissible under the appropriate standard, we note that  "[a]s a general proposition, the 'objective reasonableness' standard may be comprehensible to a lay juror. On the other hand, any 'objective' test implies the existence of a standard of conduct, and, where the standard is not defined by the generic--a reasonable person--but rather by the specific--a reasonable officer--it is more likely that [federal rule of evidence] 702's line between common and specialized knowledge has been crossed."  Kopf v. Skyrm, 993 F.2d 374, 378 (4th Cir. 1993) (analyzing plaintiff's claim that court improperly excluded expert testimony concerning defendant's use of non-deadly force in effecting arrest). In Kopf, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit stated that "[w]here force is reduced to its most primitive form--the bare hands--expert testimony might not be helpful. Add handcuffs, a gun, a slapjack, [M]ace, or some other tool, and the jury may start to ask itself: what is [M]ace? what is an officer's training on using a gun? how much damage can a slapjack do? Answering these questions may often be assisted by expert testimony." State v. Smith, 73 Conn.App. 173, 807 A.2d 500 (Conn.App. 10/22/2002)

As a practical matter, it is inappropriate to assess credibility without having watched a witness testify, because demeanor, conduct and other factors are not fully reflected in the cold, printed record. Burton v. Mottolese, 267 Conn. 1, 40 (2003). To be reasonably probable, a conclusion must be more likely than not. State v. Nunes, 800 A.2d 1160, 1175-76 (Conn. 2002). In other words, the opinion must be “probable” rather than merely “possible”. State v. Weinberg, 575 A.2d 1003 (Conn.), cert. denied, 498 U.S. 967 (1990).... expert testimony regarding causation based upon possibility or speculation is insufficient.... testimony that a certain thing is possible is no evidence at all...opinion as to what is possible is no more valid than the jury’s own speculations as to what is or is not possible.”

 

Reginald F. Allard2.gif (2102 bytes), Jr.
13th Juror, LLC
P.O. Box 1013
Southington, Connecticut 06489-5013
 
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13thJuror, LLC
350 Rockwood Drive
Southington, Connecticut 06489-4659

Voice: (860)-621-1013 ( Police Assistance - Code 1013 )

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