Recently in Mecklenburg County there was a story about police misconduct in the news. In this particular case a police officer lied on the stand about how he administered tests for a DWI arrest. The officer in this case was subsequently terminated from his position and is facing criminal charges, but it still makes anyone in the legal community think about the broader implications.
Anytime you have misconduct like this it is easy to look at the extremes, police officers are all bad or police officers are all good and this is merely one bad apple. Truthfully none of us know the prevalence of police misconduct and to what degree it goes on. What we all acknowledge however, is that when it does happen it can put innocent or undeserving people behind bars. In this case many DWI cases, including one I was handling, were dismissed because of the broader ramifications of the incident. Since this officer decided to lie about one case, it corrupted most if not all of his cases.
While this incident was unfortunate, it shows flaws within the system and it's overrall vulnerability. While here in Mecklenburg there are steps being taken, like in car cameras, to help stop incidents like this, it is not universal across North Carolina. Luckily there are attorneys working hard to help pin point police misconduct. A DWI attorney should always look at the video of the stop and subsequent arrest to verify or try and find holes in the procedures that the officer used to justify his stop and arrest. In this instance it uncovered a lot more and as a result was able to weed out a bad apple.