Readers may have noticed: there are a lot of headlines these days about police officer violence against criminal suspects. There are a variety of reasons for this, no doubt, but according to some commentators there is a term which appropriately describes one prominent reason for the situation: overcriminalization.
The discussion of overcriminalization is an important one, because it involves serious questions about race, socio-economic status, justice in the criminal process, and public policy regarding criminal law. Needless to say, we can’t begin to dive into these issues here. What we can do is reinforce a message we would like all of our readers to take away from reading this blog: working with an experienced criminal defense attorney ensures your rights and interests are protected and advocated.
As the discussion on overcriminalization makes clear, police officers do sometimes step over the line and fail in good judgment when investigating criminal activity. Because prosecutors largely rely on police investigatory work for evidence in building a case, criminal defendants need to make sure that any legal issues connected to the police investigation are thoroughly addressed. In some cases, raising such issues can lead to dramatic changes in the way the case proceeds. Even in cases where the effects are minimal, defendants deserve to have their rights protected. Doing so ensures that police are held accountable for their misdeeds and mistakes and ensures that the “checks and balances” built into the criminal justice system are serving their purpose.
Whether the mistake is racial profiling, excessive use of force, failure to obtain a warrant or properly execute a warrant, failing to inform a defendant of his or her rights, or whatever issues the case may raise in terms of police investigation, having an experienced advocate at one’s side is critical to ensure protection of one’s rights.