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.
A Nor Cal Police Sergeant
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... and a croissant!"
Walk humbly with your God
-- Courageous, by Casting Crowns