Saturday, July 28, 2012

The difference between a cop and a client

When one of my clients is found to have a bound and gagged man in his garage, my client is unquestionably arrested. Held in jail. Charged with crimes. Serious felonies, like kidnapping and aggravated battery, perhaps.

But when it's a detective in Queens whose garage is the site of a kidnapping,

according to a law enforcement official with knowledge of the case, investigators decided they did not have enough evidence to arrest Mr. Johnson.
 My clients do not get that benefit of the doubt. Ever. Frankly, neither would I. Or my kindly, retired, professorial father. Normal people do not get the benefit of the doubt when a kidnapping victim is found in their home.

See, it's a detached garage and the detective says he doesn't use it. Hmm. You know, I have a detached garage in my car and I don't park in it. I'm still fairly confident that I would be aware if someone tried to stash a kidnapping victim in there. There are windows, after all.

I guess it's better that there are two apartments in this detective's house and the person living in the other apartment has been arrested. But that other guy is the detective's cousin. Which, once again, is a connection that would most definitely land one of my clients in the clink. Because the general rule is to arrest everyone first and sort it out later. I can't help but note, though, that the official quoted in the article did say there was lots of suspicion of this detective, but no hard evidence tying him into it. Again, I have to note that I have clients serving long sentences in prison on the basis of a whole lot of suspicion and not much else. Somehow, kidnapped man physically found on your property doesn't seem like such a dearth of "hard evidence" that an arrest could not possibly be justified. Without the detective badge, that is.

Now it may well be (in fact I wouldn't be surprised at all) that the detective really didn't know anything about this and should not be arrested. I'm just saying that the only reason he did not spend a night or two in jail like his cousin did and like my clients would is that he is a detective so other cops give him a benefit of the doubt that they would not give to any lesser mortal.

Might I suggest, detectives everywhere, if it turns out that this detective really didn't have anything to do with it and really didn't know anything about the kidnapped man in his garage, perhaps the lesson you should take from that is that you should, from time to time, give the rest of us the benefit of the doubt, too.

1 comment:

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