According to the LA Times, an internal memo was sent out to all officers warning them that they may face disciplinary action if they request a judge dismiss a citation because they cannot remember specifics of the case at hand. Critics are rightfully saying the directive is unrealistic.
Having “no independent recollection” (NIR) is apparently often used by officers who simply don’t remember the facts of each and every ticket they right. Because people have a right to confront their accuser, judges using their discretion would dismiss an infraction based on an NIR request from the reporting officer.
You can’t confront your accuser in court if they don’t remember the facts of the case. This is true whether you are talking about serious criminal charges or a simple traffic ticket. Rather than waste the time of the courts and the money of the taxpayers, officers would make this request in advance and the c9itation would be dropped.
It seems officials believed the practice was being overused. A spokesperson from the LA Police Protective League points out, however, that the ban on these NIR requests is unreasonable considering how many tickets some officers write. They state it’s impossible to remember the details of each and every ticket.
I can imagine it would be difficult to remember slight differences between cases, recalling the conversations with each driver. This no doubt gets easier as the cases get more serious.
More serious cases are rarer than a simple traffic ticket and therefore create more of an impression on the officer’s mind. Their recollection of events can be called into question, however, should the criminal case make it to trial. Sure, their report is often a major piece of evidence, but the report can be discredited if it’s found the officer didn’t report the scene correctly or if he cannot recall just what happened.
People who get their traffic tickets dismissed due to lack of officer recollection no doubt breathe a sigh of relief. But many criminal cases aren’t so fortunate.
If you’re facing criminal charges and are worried about your court dates, we can help. Whether you are accused of theft or a drug crime, having an advocate on your side when you go before the judge can make all the difference in the world.
Contact our offices today for a consultation on your case. Let’s discuss what happened, what the police say happened, and how we may be able to help you.