Seattle Traffic Lawyer | Innocent Man Freed

This isn't a post about Seattle traffic law, but it is a ray of sunshine in an often cloudy sky for many people charged with Seattle crimes. The world of criminal defense is really a world filled with perceived truths, versus the actual truth. You might see charges being dismissed one day, and another a police officer on the stand adjusting the truth just enough to prevent evidence from being suppressed. But no matter what happens, you really hate to see what appears to have happened to a Vancouver, Washington man accused of child abuse 20 years ago.

In a story from the Seattle Times, it appears that the children of a former Vancouver police officer who testified when they were children that their father abused them have recanted. And the sad thing is is that it appears police coercion once again was the primary cause of the false confession. As the story reports, one of the children said he admitted to being molested by his father after months of police questioning only to get the police to stop bothering him. And can you hold that against him? A nine year old likely has no idea of the consequences his statements will cause, and likely has no idea what his statements even mean.

This goes back to a problem I see time and time again with police officers. They get stuck on one theory or become obsessed with getting a conviction, and they shut down all of their information filters except the one that promotes their theory of the case. And I'll admit that I don't often think the officers are doing it on purpose. For example, it probably highly likely that the officers who interrogated the child didn't want the father to be the molester, but in the back of their minds they knew it was. So they pushed until that feeling became reality.

Although I don't like to relate everything back to Seattle traffic law, we can see the same thing happening everyday on the streets. When I am hired as a Seattle traffic lawyer, for example, I always look at the police reports to see what is, and what is not, in them. What I mean is, if a person's breath smells of alcohol, if they have glassy eyes or slurred speech that information will be in the police report. But if the person answered the officer's questions coherently, was not driving erratically, or didn't have red eyes, for example, that information will often not be in the police report. The emphasis is on getting a conviction, and all filters except the conviction filter turn off.

And one other interesting aspect of the story is the lack or work by his appointed counsel. The story relates that the officer pled no contest to the charges after learning that his attorney hadn't prepared a defense. And he had a court appointed attorney. Now, I have done some appointed counsel work, and I treat my appointed cases just like my private cases - if for no other reason than I like to win. So don't let this fact discourage you from using appointed counsel if you can't afford an attorney. It is better than having nothing at all.

If you are charged with a DUI, traffic ticket, or other criminal charge in the Seattle area, read the Traffic Attorney Seattle Blog and hire an attorney. And find someone you can trust.

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