In our last post, we began speaking about an important issue in large cities across the United States: how can police balance public safety with respecting the constitutional rights of citizens? The question is a very important one for law enforcement agencies to explore and use as the basis of improvements in their approach to law enforcement, particularly in light of recent national events.
From a criminal defense perspective, the issue can be simplified a bit. Essentially, it is a matter of law enforcement agencies doing their part to build effective training programs to ensure officers are in compliance with established rules designed to protect the constitutional rights of suspects.
In other words, for law enforcement agencies, it really isn’t so much about balancing constitutional rights with effective police work as much as working within the framework already laid out in constitutional law. Law enforcement agencies don’t do the balancing—that is done by the courts, and law enforcement follows their lead. That isn’t to say, of course, that law enforcement agencies have no discretion as to the strategies they use in conducting investigations, but that the rubber really hits the road on the issue of compliance with constitutional law.
For those who have had their constitutional rights violated in the course of a police investigation, it is important to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney to ensure that the case is carefully scrutinized and that any potential legal issues are addressed in building a solid defense. An experienced attorney can help make sure that constitutional violations are fully addressed in the criminal process.