Saturday, September 23, 2006

Right to counsel

Interesting decision out of Albany, as reported in the Times-Union.

The issue at hand is that State Police policy has been to have police-only meetings with troopers involved in shootings. Apparently, though, reports then find their way into the hands of the agency or agencies investigating the shooting(s), where there is the potential for criminal action. The police union sued, and has prevailed at this early stage, on the claim that officers have the right to counsel (or union reps) before and during these interviews.

It's certainly a murky area, dancing between employment law, civil service law, administrative law (as it is a state agency) and criminal law.

I'm of a mixed mind about the entire thing. Theoretically and philosphically and as a professional, I support everyone's right to counsel when involved in any proceeding where criminal charges may attach. In practice, though, are the troopers going to get the "Why involve a lawyer? Why not just talk to us? We'll go easier if you just talk. We know you did it, so why keep us here all night?" that civillians get?


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