The Campaign For DA


Cop vs. Prosecutor: Who Ya Got?

I've been in the criminal justice field a long time and this fascinates me to no end. A prosecutor and a cop have an obvious history of tension and the cop goes to visit the prosecutor about a case. And he turns on his body cam. (That should give every prosecutor something to think about.)

The subject of the discussion was a pending drug case. The newspaper in South Texas which first reported the story was critical of the prosecutor. Yet a Houston defense lawyer came to the defense of her.

One of the oddest parts was when the prosecutor asks the officer for his wife's phone number since he "listed her as a witness" He doesn't give it but reminds her she's a court reporter.

There has to be a huge back story between the two.

Side note: When did it become professional for prosecutors to wear jogging clothes in the office and have a dog there?

Edit: I've now watched this twice. My verdict: Both are guilty. She is condescending. He is dumb as a box of rocks.


Anonymous said...

What a stupid, condescending biatch!!! Anyone with half a brain knows that a pellet gun can be deadly. And then the career threat near the end to intimidate the officer...that was low!

Harry Hamid said...

I don't see a problem. Granted, the jogging suit and the dog are little... strange, but maybe that's how they roll in Rockport.

The woman doesn't handle stress well. I know people who talk like that when they're stressed. Her voice sounds pinched and she's obviously unhappy and trying to keep calm.

But what she says sounds okay, and it's sort of the way I've heard lawyers talk to clients when they feel they need to have a Come to Jesus moment.

The one thing that I can imagine pissing off a cop is that she's a young woman, and macho cops don't like younger women who aren't their boss telling them what they should do. You know, "She's in her little jogging suit and she calls me in and tells me how to write reports and how to take direction."

Anonymous said...

Don't twist this into sexism, the lady was being extremely condescending and child talking the officer not to mention the veiled career threat at the end. He was very straight forward and respectful the entire time. She isn't an authority figure over him and she she should be professional enough to treat him with the mutual respect a colleague deserves.

Anonymous said...

I've been both a prosecutor and defense attorney. This cop is a defense attorney's dream and a prosecutor's nightmare -- a witness who thinks he knows everything and doesn't need some snot-nosed prosecutor to tell him anything.

Here are some additional thoughts:

1) It is readily apparent to me that this meeting took place not during regular office business hours, but like on a weekend or holiday (as indicated by most lights being off and nobody in building except people in that lone office area). Having prosecuted in both big and small DAs offices, it is very common to go to the office during off hours wearing comfortable clothes (e.g., shorts, t-shirt, sandals, jeans, sneakers, yoga pants, etc.). It's not like she was going to court to appear before a judge in those clothes (I would imagine). Plus, I've seen prosecutors during non-regular business hours to bring their pets especially if they are going to do leisure activities immediately after the time in the office.

Although you were not directly critical, your side note comes off as snarky when the prosecutor, like in this situation, is there to work and prepare for trial. What do you as either an elected DA or a private citizen, care that, during off-hours, the prosecutor is wearing comfortable clothes (if not going to court) or brings a pet (as long as the pet is not harming people or damaging things) to get work done. We should all applaud this prosecutor for giving up her personal time to prepare for trial, especially if she's dealing with this jackass of a cop.

2) Having been a prosecutor for a long time, I think that this ADA did a good job trying to generally educate this cop about report writing and testifying as well as specifically prepare this cop to testify in this trial. She also met with the cop to learn what he would say in trial. She did not try to put words in his mouth or suggest what "the truth" should be just to get a conviction. If she did that, there undoubtedly would and rightfully should be great outrage over these types of actions.

3) The part about the cop's wife being listed as a witness was weird because I thought he said she was present during some aspect of the case. I think that's odd, but who knows how things are in Aransas.

The prosecutor did nothing wrong in asking for the wife's cell number because the ADA needed to contact her to learn exactly what the wife would testify to in trial in addition to the cop.

What I gleaned from this exchange about giving the ADA the cop's wife cell number is that the cop had a plan of possibly loading this video up on YouTube and did not want his wife's cell number blasted over the Internet. So the cop avoided directly answering the question by reminding the ADA that his wife was a court reporter in Nueces County. In my mind, the cop clearly went in this meeting with the intent to make this ADA look bad and to do it publicly.

Anonymous said...

4) Finally, I've read comments in other places about this video and specifically maligning the prosecutor for "threatening" the cop with a possible future job reference or recommendation. Undoubtedly, the people who make that suggestion are idiots. When a person threatens or tries to manipulate another, it's usually to try to get the threatenee to do something or not to do something.

What exactly is this prosecutor trying to get the cop to do with her "threats" related to a possible future job reference or recommendation? She has never suggested that he lie or testify in a particular (falsely or otherwise) way to convict that defendant in the upcoming trial. The context of the video reflects that she's discussing his receptiveness to instruction on report-writing (which she's right about) and his ability to follow instruction regarding testifying in a manner that complies with the law (not trying to get into areas of inadmissible evidence, like evidence of prior convictions) which could result in a mistrial and a double jeopardy bar to later prosecution or an appellate reversal (which usually makes securing a subsequent conviction more difficult). If the cop can't receive instruction on small things like writing reports and testifying correctly, then this guy really shouldn't be a cop. Shooting guns and car chases are only half of the difficult job of being a peace officer; there's still the proper compiling of the information and testifying in court which is the other half of the job.

If this cop were in my jurisdiction, I might not black-ball him from filing cases, as in Aransas County, but many of his cases would be significantly pled down or dismissed because an ADA can't trust his judgment or professionalism. The public should want, if not demand, a police officer who takes his job seriously and to be professional in all aspects of his job.

Dallas AFLCIO said...

We agree with Harry Hamid and 10:06 commenter.

Anonymous said...

Nothing suggested he wasn't following her tips on report writing, he just explained that he had been taught something different. Also she was assuming or inferring that he was going to testify on past criminal history based off conversations in an email exchange. Nothing in the video or in his discussion suggested that he planned on doing that, or that he had done that before. She seemed to overreact on that; all she had to do was simply say you know we can't discuss prior criminal history during testimony and move on. She was grinding an axe here and talking down to him like she thought he was too stupid to understand.

Her combative attitude and demeanor, along with the future career reference threat were all highly unprofessional. I don't agree with him filming her and putting it out there, but maybe he had been backed into a corner here by her previous behavior toward him.

Anonymous said...

If you had half a brain, you'd know she was aware already that a pellet gun can be a deadly weapon. In the law, just about anything can be a deadly weapon based on the way it was used to seriously hurt or kill someone.

Her point was that he shouldn't have looked up the pellet gun specifications on the Internet to put in his report. That's generally hearsay to the cop (unless he already knows this info without having to look it up) and is usually not admissible (at least through him) in trial. She's trying to help him understand the reasons why not to put this info in his report.

Plus, she didn't theaten his career at the end. He already has a career at Podunk PD where he's at; he likely can stay there as long as he wants no matter how good or inept he is. She's talking about a possible reference for future employment at another agency which may have job applicant screeners who call other agencies connected to the previous job to verify employment and performance. In the event he wants to leave Podunk PD, she'd want to be able to give him a good reference if he performs like a thorough and conscientious officer, not someone with an "I've-been-doing-this-a-lot-longer-than-you-have" attitude.

Anonymous said...

The cop is only "respectful" because he knows he's videotaping the conversation and is going to publicize this videoed meeting afterward.

She may not be an authority figure over the cop, but he should respect that she knows how to handle things in the courtroom, like he probably knows how to handle things on the street. She never tries to tell him how to handle a suspect or approach a stopped car or execute a warrant; that's not her expertise. In the same way, the cop should respect (by words and attitude) her knowledge of evidentiary and court rules.

It's indisputable from the video that he testified in a prior trial about a defendant's prior arrest(s) or conviction(s), which caused problems in that prior trial. He admits it but tries to rationalize it. How about the cop MAN UP by recognizing that he screwed up and learning from it.

BTW, they are not truly colleagues. His colleagues are police officers; hers are lawyers. On the street, she doesn't (and shouldn't) have equal authority as he has. In the courtroom, he doesn't (and shouldn't) have equal authority that she has.

Anonymous said...

The Dallas AFL CIO needs to protest the wise county courthouse

Anonymous said...

Parr could handle her, he is professional.

Anonymous said...

If you know cops, you know they will try to testify about a prior arrest or conviction because cops (accurately) believe that a jury will rarely give a defendant the benefit of the doubt once the jury hears that the CJ system has handled the defendant in the past. That's why the rules of evidence generally keep the jury from hearing this evidence unless there is a specific reason to let the jury hear it.

You say that "nothing in the video or the discussion suggested that he planned on" testifying about a criminal record. However, the cop knew he was recording this conversation and wasn't going to say anything that might make him look bad when he released the video.

You also say that there was nothing to suggest that the cop had not previously testified about a defendant's criminal record in a prior trial. However, the cop basically admits that he did so but blamed "Alex" for the question which supposedly elicited that evidence. So you need to go back to the video to see that you're wrong.

Finally, you give the cop the benefit of the doubt, and I usually do that too. But even if this guy "had been backed into a corner," his videoing and publicizing of this meeting just about kills his career as an investigative police officer in at least this county. I'm confident that the Aransas County DAs office won't accept a case involving this cop in the future, which essentially relegates him to jail or evidence room work.

Anonymous said...

I got it the first time

Craig Moore said...

Observations...Did I see a Shelf full of High Heel Shoes behind her? And her office is a mess....including Bulletin board....Doesnt seem organised.