Impeachment on Personnel Records
by Jamison Koehler on December 9, 2018
Q: If you lost your body worn camera, you could get written up for that, right?
A: Yeah, if you lost it, yes. But in this situation, it was knocked off or fell off, whatever have you –
A: I mean, it’s not exactly my fault in this situation but I still need to report the camera is no longer on my chest.
Q: Right. So you needed to explain to your official, to Sergeant Jones, because you were concerned about some type of disciplinary hearing against you, right?
Q: Now, if you get too many disciplinary actions against you, that creates problems for your career, right?
A: Yes, it would.
Q: And you have already had a number of sustained findings for misconduct against you, isn’t that right?
A: No, that’s not correct.
Q: You have not had any sustained findings against you?
A: Um, I haven’t –
PROSECUTOR: Objection, Your Honor. These are not relevant to the case, to the investigation or to this officer’s testimony’s today.
THE COURT: Please approach. Officer, you may step down. You can sit in the jury box. Counsel, where are you going with this?
DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, Your Honor. This goes to bias. I asked him about prior sustained findings against him, findings that could affect his career, and he has denied having had any. I have documents to contradict him. He got up there on the stand and told Your Honor that he has never had a sustained finding against him. I should have the opportunity to impeach him on that.
THE COURT: I don’t think that’s quite what he said. I think you asked him if he’s had a number of sustained findings against him, and he said no.
DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Okay.
THE COURT: Overruled. I’ll allow it. Officer, thank you. You can take the stand again.
Q: You can answer the question.
A: I am sorry. What was the question?
Q: Have you ever had any sustained findings against you, sir?
A: Yes. I’ve made a couple of mistakes in my police career. Yes, that is correct.
Q: And when you say couple, you mean two or three?
A: Two. I missed two hearings. Two.
Q: And these are the only findings, the only sustained findings against you?
A: Sustained findings as far as what, my entire police career? This is a very broad question that I haven’t –
Q: Okay. Let me be more specific then.
A: Okay, please.
Q: How about in 2015, a sustained finding for failing to get assistance from another officer when removing a prisoner from a vehicle?
A: When was that?
Q: July 12, 2015.
A: Okay. Um, yes. There was an occasion where, um, I had a defendant in handcuffs, was attempting to put him in a second transport vehicle –
Q: I am not asking you to explain.
A: Can I answer the question, please?
Q: That wasn’t my question. I asked you –
A: I mean, we’ve opened, we’ve asked – the question’s been asked, may I answer please?
THE COURT: Just, just, just yes or no.
A: Okay, please ask your question one more time.
Q: So you’ve had a sustained finding against you on July 12, 2015 for failing to get assistance from another member when placing or removing a prisoner from a vehicle? I am reading this from your PPMS.
A: That’s correct, yes.
Q: So that is the extent of the sustained findings against you?
A: Um, in – there was vehicle damage on one date that I failed to report during a vehicle inspection. Um –
Q: And that was in June, 2016?
A: I guess. That sounds about right.
Q: Should I refresh your recollection? Do you want to see this document?
A: No, that’s right.
Q: So a sustained finding in July 2015 for failing to get assistance from another officer when placing or removing a prisoner from a vehicle. And then a sustained finding for failing to report damage to a vehicle. That is two. Is that the extent of it?
A: Yeah, that’s correct. Um, any other ones, I can’t remember off the top of my head.
Q: So there are other ones? So these aren’t important to you enough to remember them?
A: Uh, I don’t remember any more. I’ve never received suspension days or any sort of severe punishment for any of these in – for any of these so I don’t remember them.
Q: Do you recall a sustained finding in May 2015 for failing to ensure that a crime scene officer reported to the scene to recover stolen property. Do you recall that one?
A: Yes, I do. I am sorry, Your Honor. I had forgotten that one.
Q: How about a sustained finding in April 2014 for . . .