When police procedures are not followed, tragedy may ensue

Regardless of the organization that an officer represents, there are proper police procedures that must be followed. That is true even in arrests by officers of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, the FBI or other government agencies.

Unfortunately, the recent tragedy in Ferguson, Missouri suggests that the potential for police misconduct should be a national concern. Although the officers in that story were local, we’ve explored a number of instances of police brutality in recent posts. From an unauthorized search and seizure to excessive or deadly use of force, officials must be held accountable.

Officials that work for a federal government agency may also be tempted to an excessive response. Perhaps they feel that their status as federal agents may intimidate suspects into cooperation. Although federal officials may advise a criminal suspect that cooperating will lead to a better outcome, an attorney that focuses on federal indictments may advise differently.

First, requesting the right to an attorney at the moment of arrest may help an accused better protect his or her interests before the federal indictment. In fact, the mere presence of an attorney advocating on behalf of a criminal defendant facing federal charges may make federal prosecutors more agreeable to striking a bargain.

If negotiation is not possible before the indictment, an attorney can help protect a defendant’s interests throughout all stages of that proceeding. For example, an attorney can advocate for a lower amount at the bond hearing that follows an indictment. An attorney can also review the arrest record and other evidence to ensure that officials followed procedures like properly requesting a search warrant supported by probable cause.

Source: The New York Times, “A Youth, an Officer and 2 Paths to a Fatal Encounter,” Julie Bosman, John Schwartz and Serge F. Kovaleski, Aug. 15, 2014