In a unanimous vote, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania recently ordered that the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) must turn over all information concerning officer misconduct to the District Attorney’s Office. The court explained that this process upholds the constitutional obligation to support an open criminal justice system.
Unfortunately, police officers who commit misconduct are usually adept at burying evidence. Occasionally, other officers conspire in these cover ups. This makes proving police misconduct incredibly difficult. Having experienced lawyers overseeing these types of claims is crucial. The Philadelphia police misconduct attorneys at Solomon, Sherman & Gabay have the legal expertise to uncover the truth.
The court explained it was the constitutional duty of the PPD to fulfill the District Attorney’s request for any information regarding misconduct. Police and prosecutors should work in concert to help ensure convictions do not come from an individual being lied to, coerced, or cheated.
The court’s ruling aims to achieve more fair and transparent trials by creating a credible process for police misconduct disclosures. This process will hopefully help prevent unconstitutional practices like:
The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) also had all their allegations against the District Attorney’s Office debunked in their lawsuit against the City of Philadelphia. The FOP leveled several complaints regarding unfair practices conducted by the District Attorney’s Office. All of them were found erroneous.
Larry Krasner was elected Philadelphia’s District Attorney in 2017. He campaigned on reducing incarcerations and reforming the city’s criminal justice system.
In explaining the importance of this case, Krasner described it as fundamental in his administration’s plans for reform. He added, “It is telling…the Fraternal Order of Police’s primary complaint here is that officers’ reputations and access to court appearance pay and overtime pay should instead supersede the basic due process rights of civilians.”
Krasner’s DA Conviction Integrity Unit began its attack on police misconduct in 2018. The unit has facilitated 23 exonerations of 22 wrongfully convicted individuals in under four years. Misconduct was the cause of nearly all these convictions.
Krasner asserts accountability for misconduct needs to start within police organizations. Taking responsibility is the first step in repairing the trust between police officers and the communities they police.
The criminal charge of police misconduct is handled very differently than a civil liability lawsuit. A police officer who is found liable in a civil case may not be found criminally responsible in the same incident.
Civil liability cases do not sue the officer, claims are made against police departments and/or municipal jurisdiction authorities. Typically, the organization’s insurance carrier manages cases through litigation, to eventual settlements or jury verdicts.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of police misconduct, contact the Philadelphia police misconduct attorneys at Solomon, Sherman & Gabay as soon as you can for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or calling 215-665-1100.