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  1. #1
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    Default Can Police Threaten Witnesses

    My question involves police conduct in the State of: Wisconsin i know of 2 people of whom were told by a police officer that unless they told them the name of the 3rd person involved in a traffic incident they would be thrown in jail and given felonys, the police officer also instructed them who the 3rd persons name was, and unless they said who he just told them it was, that jail and felonys would be waiting for them. they are willing to sign statements saying this and the witnesses were also instructed that if they got a lawyer or attended court they would be charged with felonies and 1 of the witnesses dads was there and heard them say that, then the police officer mailed many traffic citations to the person he told the witnesses to say it was i am wondering if there is a law against police officers threatning witnesses to say who they say it is and if there is where would i look to find the state or federal law or statute saying that it is illegal? and would that make a case get dismissed?? thanks for any help

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Can Police Threaten Witnesses

    242 forbids a person who "under color of law" deprives another of any rights.

    http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/s...2----000-.html

    241 involves a conspiracy under color of law.

    State parallel "color of law" laws may also be applicable.

    NOTE:

    "Actual" violations must occur for it to rise to the level of criminal, IMO.



    The police sometimes use unethical, albiet legal means to secure facts.

    IF indeed he could have charged them with obstruction or such, is unknown, as any person has the "right to remain silent" as a "general rule".

    Some states permit the arrest of a felony "material witness" to a crime, who has refused to give information and or flat out tells the officer, if subpeonaed, they will flee, etc.

    Intimidation to blow the whistle can be at times, I suppose, a criminal and or civil offense. An attorney would have to evaluate all the facts.

    This post may help some, but further research may be necessary.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Can Police Threaten Witnesses

    I think I have a case in my notes on this, I'll check! I do know of 242 though already.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Can Police Threaten Witnesses

    Quote Quoting BOR
    View Post
    I think I have a case in my notes on this, I'll check! I do know of 242 though already.
    This is the case I was refering to, 241 conspiracy to injure, but in your case there was no conspiracy.


    http://legal.rights.com/USSup/417/41...11.73-346.html


    As I said, for 214 or 242 to apply, an actual false arrest needs to take place, not just a "threat" of such. However, I am not an attorney, so maybe one can see if your state common law provides such protection?

    IMO, though, if an actual violation did not happen and just a threat, the point may be moot, then again it may trigger the self incrimination protection??

    It is a loaded question for sure.

    Carl is a CA police officer, maybe he has some views on it, if he checks in!!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Can Police Threaten Witnesses

    Wisconsin is another Circuit Court of Appeals, and in another state whose laws I am not entirely familiar with, so there may some peculiar idiosyncracies in play here.

    On the face of it, I'd say that it might be improper, but not necessarily unlawful. And, if the officer(s) believed that the actions of the witnesses were in violation of the law they can certainly state that the witnesses could be arrested and charged. If someone else was injured or killed in the collision, I can see why the police might make such threats and go to extraordinary efforts. If the person they believed to be the suspect merely crunched his own car and did little other damage, then I doubt they would to through this effort.

    The state can also subpoena them as witnesses and ask the witnesses under penalty of perjury who was driving the vehicle ... they might then be in quite a bind ... lie and risk jail, or cough up their friend. I suppose it is going to depend on how good a friend the defendant is.

    - Carl
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"


    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Can Police Threaten Witnesses

    it was about a dirtbike on a trail and no one was hurt, a bicyclist called in 1 dirtbike and two atvs that were going fast down the trail and even said in the witness statement that he was only most concerned about the second atv and only the dirtbiker is being charged, 1 kid who was caught by the police on his atv later that day said he didnt know the peoples names as he was from a different state and was thrown in jail for a night then was released the next day upon his instructed statement stating who the other 2 were someone told me that may be coercion of witnesses?? and also is it legal for them to charge the dirtbiker with fines they didnt give the atv rider because in the report it was also said that they were all on a road right by the trail and only the dirtbiker was charged with no headlights,tailights,blinkers,mirrors,motorcycle licence, registration etc and the atvs were not charged with any of that and they admitted to it

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Can Police Threaten Witnesses

    There is no law that requires the police to enforce the law identically between each of the parties involved in an incident.

    And depending on the laws in your state, they might be able to charge everyone with some crime.

    - Carl
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"


    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Can Police Threaten Witnesses

    man that just doesnt seem fair

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Can Police Threaten Witnesses

    Quote Quoting transamman
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    man that just doesnt seem fair
    The law is not perfect, and not all applications are going to seem "fair". But, there are few entirely identical sets of circumstances - one person may have prior arrests and contacts that make it more likely he'll get charged, one person might have a good attitude that makes it less likely ... who knows?

    No one ever said life was "fair".

    - Carl
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"


    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Can Police Threaten Witnesses

    ABSOLUTILY NOT! Police or anyone else can not threaten a witness (Wittiness intimidation) I am not totally aware of your details but I would suggest you research the matter. If intimidation is involved, file a complaint with the department and the F.B.I Civil Rights Division.

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