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Justice for LeviFollow

#1 Nov 15 2011 at 3:21 PM Rating: Excellent
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Just some back story. In 2009 a young man was killed by OPP(Ontario provincial police) in a remote northern Ontario location. They were then instructed to not write down any notes on the matter until they (the officer who shot and the witness officers) could all talk to a lawyer two days later. (one lawyer for all officers involed)

The courts have ruled that this practice is not just and hopefully will never happen again.


Edit: spelling

Edited, Nov 15th 2011 4:22pm by Peimei
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#2 Nov 15 2011 at 5:32 PM Rating: Good
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Isn't it normal for police involved in any kind of shooting which requires an internal investigation to be allowed to speak to a lawyer first? I know you guys up in Canukistan don't have that pesky 5th amendment, but I'd think the basic principle should still apply. I don't know the details of this case, and it's entirely possible that there was some sort of collusion to conceal the truth after the fact by the police, but it seems like a ruling like this is the judicial equivalent of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
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#3 Nov 15 2011 at 5:37 PM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
Isn't it normal for police involved in any kind of shooting which requires an internal investigation to be allowed to speak to a lawyer first? I know you guys up in Canukistan don't have that pesky 5th amendment, but I'd think the basic principle should still apply. I don't know the details of this case, and it's entirely possible that there was some sort of collusion to conceal the truth after the fact by the police, but it seems like a ruling like this is the judicial equivalent of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.


To speak to their lawyer before they even record the events of the investigation? No, that's absurd. Their job REQUIRES them to tell the absolute truth about what happened. There's absolutely no reason for a lawyer to be involved until there is legal action taken.

And they do have a 5th amendment equivalent, dumbass.
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#4 Nov 15 2011 at 5:49 PM Rating: Decent
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One of the main issues with this case was the witness officers sat down with the shooting officer and a lawyer and they all wrote there notes together. Two days after the event.
Also Gbaji police are supposed to be more accountable then a civilian so no they don't get the same rights.
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SSubZero wrote:

MNK: "OK we're gonna go in and get those items."
WHM: "Did you have a plan?"
MNK: "Plan? I was going to walk through the front door and start punching people."
#5 Nov 15 2011 at 6:01 PM Rating: Decent
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idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
To speak to their lawyer before they even record the events of the investigation? No, that's absurd.


Is it? Again, I thought that was standard procedure in a shooting case. They schedule an IA appointment, where they present their account of the event and they most certainly are allowed to speak to counsel first and have an attorney present when giving the interview.

Quote:
Their job REQUIRES them to tell the absolute truth about what happened.


But they're also allowed to protect themselves from potential self incrimination.

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There's absolutely no reason for a lawyer to be involved until there is legal action taken.


If SOP for a shooting is to have an IA investigation (again, isn't that the norm?), then by definition that *is* legal action. It is a legal deposition and carries the same weight and the officer is allowed the same protections of his rights. Again, I'll state that I'm not aware of the specifics in this case, and the linked article was incredibly sparse, so I can't say that there weren't other aspects of this that were problematic, but the basic idea that an officer involved in a shooting can seek legal counsel prior to writing down his account of what happened seems reasonable to me, doubly so if there's an expectation (such as in this case) that what is written absolutely can/will be used against the officer with very real legal ramifications.

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And they do have a 5th amendment equivalent, dumbass.


Ok. But you can't have it both ways. Either the officers report can be used as a sworn statement in court later, or it can't (and I think we both know that they can and are all the time). If it can, then the officer absolutely has a right to speak to an attorney before he can be required to write such a statement.


My "baby with the bathwater" statement earlier was because it seems like some people think the attorney present thing is the problem, where I would assume it's the possible collusion. But weakening the right of any officer to seek legal counsel in a case like this in order to go after a single instance of collusion is the wrong thing to do. For every case like this where that rule may allow collusion by the officers, there are a hundred cases of an officer who's not particularly court savvy writing something in a report which results in criminal or civil charges being filed simply because someone wrote something the wrong way.
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#6 Nov 15 2011 at 6:09 PM Rating: Good
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There's a massive difference between being on and off duty.

An officer off duty has all the rights and privileges associated with being a citizen of the US. An officer ON duty is acting as an arm of the gov't, not as a private citizen.

You shoot someone in an official capacity, you have no right to wait to make a report, to consult a lawyer before you do so, etc. You are required, in virtue of your very position, to tell the absolute truth. Rights about self-incrimination do not apply when you are working in an official position.

Furthermore, officers don't have the right to convene with each other to decide what should be noted and what shouldn't. If there are inconsistencies in the reports, it's a sign that something went wrong.
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#7 Nov 15 2011 at 6:22 PM Rating: Decent
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idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
An officer off duty has all the rights and privileges associated with being a citizen of the US. An officer ON duty is acting as an arm of the gov't, not as a private citizen.


And the government will serve time if he's found guilty of some crime?

Quote:
You shoot someone in an official capacity, you have no right to wait to make a report, to consult a lawyer before you do so, etc. You are required, in virtue of your very position, to tell the absolute truth. Rights about self-incrimination do not apply when you are working in an official position.


You keep saying this, but I'm not talking specifically about the "right to remain silent". Clearly, the officer must provide a report. My question is whether he can seek counsel first, and I would think that it is allowed in cases where he may be subject to disciplinary or even criminal action.

Quote:
Furthermore, officers don't have the right to convene with each other to decide what should be noted and what shouldn't. If there are inconsistencies in the reports, it's a sign that something went wrong.


This I agree with. But the statements in this thread went well beyond just "they can't talk to each other and get their stories straight".
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#8 Nov 15 2011 at 6:35 PM Rating: Excellent
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Peimei wrote:
One of the main issues with this case was the witness officers sat down with the shooting officer and a lawyer and they all wrote there notes together.
That seems to be the biggest issue with the case, since both the investigated individual and the witnesses aren't ever supposed to interact. Should have been more expedient, but not knowing the location and the availability of legal counsel I can't really say whether or not two days is an extraordinary amount of time.

As far as the legal counsel issue this thread is throwing around: The Miranda Rights (or equivalents) apply to everyone. That's all there is to it. Period. The officer in question has the right to remain silent until he has legal counsel. While the OPP (yeah you know me) case messed up by allowing the witness and suspect converse with the same lawyer, that doesn't mean that the officer didn't have the right to legal counsel if he's the target of the investigation. Any report he would have made would be considered a statement.

So to recap: Wrong of suspect/witness to work together to write said notes. Wrong for lawyer to represent both of them. I can't vouch for the two days thing; Like I said I don't know the area, workload, availability and such. Right for the officer to have legal counsel before making any statements.
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#9 Nov 15 2011 at 6:48 PM Rating: Decent
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As far as the legal counsel issue this thread is throwing around: The Miranda Rights (or equivalents) apply to everyone. That's all there is to it. Period. The officer in question has the right to remain silent until he has legal counsel. While the OPP (yeah you know me) case messed up by allowing the witness and suspect converse with the same lawyer, that doesn't mean that the officer didn't have the right to legal counsel if he's the target of the investigation. Any report he would have made would be considered a statement.


He wasn't the target of an investigation, so such rights wouldn't apply to him. This is all concerning his report after the incident, which is his report as an officer of the law.

He would have been free to not make a report, of course. But that has its own ramifications. He still could have chosen it, though.
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#10 Nov 15 2011 at 6:51 PM Rating: Decent
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The area was fairly remote so two days for counsel is justified. However they were instructed to not write anything down. AT all. How good is your memory after two days. When you just ended a life? There were many other inconsistencies in the case that I don't really think I need to go into as the main point was what has been discussed. Either way this is the closest thing to justice the family and friends of Levi ******** will get.

Also in canada the moment an officer draws his weapon there is an investigation so this decision will be far reaching. Of course the blue wall of silence basically makes it a moot point as cops wont rat on cops so as the saying goes here.
You cant spell OPPression without OPP.
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SSubZero wrote:

MNK: "OK we're gonna go in and get those items."
WHM: "Did you have a plan?"
MNK: "Plan? I was going to walk through the front door and start punching people."
#11 Nov 15 2011 at 7:04 PM Rating: Decent
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You cant spell OPPression without OPP.

Eh?
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#12 Nov 15 2011 at 7:17 PM Rating: Excellent
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idiggory wrote:
He wasn't the target of an investigation, so such rights wouldn't apply to him.
Dude, it's like the first sentence.
OP Article wrote:
Ontario's highest court has ruled that police involved in an SIU investigation are not permitted "to have lawyers vet their notes or to assist them in preparation of their notes."
Now that I've read it (because, simply put, I'm just not interested enough), yeah half and half but the article is pretty vague. I'm kind of curious if they ruled for the whole police report, or just the parts that don't involve the official statement near the end. Which, at least here, would be completely illegal. So the cops should have done the basic Who/What/Where/When sections of the report, but I can't imagine any court ruling that legal counsel isn't allowed for a legal statement that could be used against the individual in a court. But like I said, the article is vague and I'm not invested enough to hunt down a more detailed report on the matter.
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#13 Nov 15 2011 at 7:21 PM Rating: Decent
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"involved in" doesn't mean "subject of" though. But maybe I'm just reading something that isn't there, since you are right that it is vague though.

Still, there's no good reason for a police officer to need to consult an attorney for his official report considering any investigation he was leading or a part of. If he's the subject of the investigation, I totally get it. But allowing him or her to do so before making an official report (a report that would be endorsed by the gov't because of his position) just seems to me like begging to leave open a space for corruption, without any obvious benefit to civil liberties.
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#14 Nov 15 2011 at 7:23 PM Rating: Excellent
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Peimei wrote:
How good is your memory after two days. When you just ended a life?
I'm only comfortable enough to elude to remembering certain events eight years ago with enough clarity to make me wake up in a sweat. Can we leave it at that?
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#15 Nov 15 2011 at 7:32 PM Rating: Good
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I get lost in your avatar gaxe. It's scary
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SSubZero wrote:

MNK: "OK we're gonna go in and get those items."
WHM: "Did you have a plan?"
MNK: "Plan? I was going to walk through the front door and start punching people."
#16 Nov 16 2011 at 12:33 AM Rating: Good
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Peimei wrote:
I get lost in your avatar gaxe. It's scary


I picture thats what he'll look like in about 12 years or so on the day when the first poor little soul ask his daughter out right down to poping out the bushes.

The whole being allowed hear what others have to report or thier statement on what happen is the biggest issue here.
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#17 Nov 16 2011 at 8:45 AM Rating: Good
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I'd think a law enforcement agency would have standard reporting procedures to follow after an on-the-job shooting.

Is this it?

The public and the family have a right to know what went down in the woods.

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#18 Nov 16 2011 at 3:03 PM Rating: Good
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Elinda wrote:
I'd think a law enforcement agency would have standard reporting procedures to follow after an on-the-job shooting.


They do.

Quote:
Is this it?


More or less. While I suppose this varies by location, the common practice is to *always* have an investigation after an officer involved shooting. And the officer is the "subject" of that investigation. For that reason, it's absolutely proper for him to seek counsel prior to writing anything down or saying anything to anyone. Advising the officer to not talk to anyone or write anything down until he speaks with counsel is also not unusual at all. It's basic legal advice that works in any situation.

The article was vague about how many officers were involved with the actual shooting and how many were just witnesses. It was also vague in terms of them all speaking to the same lawyer. In a small remote town, that might not be avoidable. The bigger question is whether or not the officers were able to collude in some way to make their stories fit. If that the case, then that's wrong. But it has nothing to do with allowing the officers access to counsel. IMO, that's perfectly normal and acceptable.


Quote:
The public and the family have a right to know what went down in the woods.


Absolutely. But if the officer are going to lie about what happened, they're going to lie about it. If the compared stories in order to make it easier to lie, then that's the thing that needs to be focused on. The officer(s) absolutely have a right to counsel as well.
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#19 Nov 16 2011 at 3:31 PM Rating: Decent
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Absolutely. But if the officer are going to lie about what happened, they're going to lie about it. If the compared stories in order to make it easier to lie, then that's the thing that needs to be focused on. The officer(s) absolutely have a right to counsel as well.


No one disagrees with you here. But that doesn't mean that they have the right to counsel at the expense of making a prompt report, that they deserve to have it before making their report, that they deserve to have a single attorney act on behalf of all of them, that they have the right to associate with the witnesses prior to filing a report, or that there's any reason they would need counsel until the investigation begins (which won't be until after their report is submitted).

If, after an investigation is launched, they want to seek counsel--feel free. They are no longer in a position of official power in the case. But if you are acting in an official capacity, you do not have all the rights of a private citizen--you trade them in for a different set of rights and privileges.
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#20 Nov 16 2011 at 3:32 PM Rating: Excellent
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idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
Quote:
You cant spell OPPression without OPP.

Eh?
You're not down? :(
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#21 Nov 16 2011 at 3:36 PM Rating: Good
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Sweetums wrote:
idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
Quote:
You cant spell OPPression without OPP.

Eh?
You're not down? :(


So it would seem. Smiley: frown
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#22 Nov 16 2011 at 4:01 PM Rating: Decent
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Here's a link to the group that brought this to the courts. It has the story and all other details if you are so inclined. The family and friends that put it all together are friends of mine, and I knew Levi as well.
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SSubZero wrote:

MNK: "OK we're gonna go in and get those items."
WHM: "Did you have a plan?"
MNK: "Plan? I was going to walk through the front door and start punching people."
#23 Nov 16 2011 at 4:12 PM Rating: Good
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Peimei wrote:
Here's a link to the group that brought this to the courts. It has the story and all other details if you are so inclined. The family and friends that put it all together are friends of mine, and I knew Levi as well.


Maybe I'm missing something, or the story was written by someone who assumed that any random reader already knew most of the story, but I still don't see anything wrong in terms of the police procedures. I don't see anything in that story saying that they colluded, or even that both of them used the same lawyer (although that might be elsewhere, I didn't read the court documents of the case). So this is about problems with a standard police procedure because there *might* have been collusion?

I'm still sticking with my "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" comparison. The right of the officers to speak to counsel prior to writing their reports (I'm assuming that's what they mean by "notes") is important and does not automatically mean that they are being deceptive or coordinating their stories. Heck. The officers could have done that at any time during/after the shooting (they were the only two people there, right?). They don't need a lawyer to do that.
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#24 Nov 16 2011 at 4:47 PM Rating: Decent
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I don't see anything in that story saying that they colluded, or even that both of them used the same lawyer (although that might be elsewhere, I didn't read the court documents of the case).


Whether or not they colluded is only part of the issue. But the fact is that they violated laws designed to keep them from colluding.

And, please, give me a single legitimate reason why a police officer would need to consult a lawyer before submitting a report?
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#25 Nov 16 2011 at 4:49 PM Rating: Decent
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Also, there's DEFINITELY no reason why an officer who is a witness would have a reason to speak to a lawyer. You might argue that Miranda rights apply to an officer, since his report will cause an investigation if it includes a shooting. That doesn't apply to the witness in a case--he will only be investigated if they find evidence that he lied.
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#26 Nov 16 2011 at 4:57 PM Rating: Good
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idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
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I don't see anything in that story saying that they colluded, or even that both of them used the same lawyer (although that might be elsewhere, I didn't read the court documents of the case).


Whether or not they colluded is only part of the issue. But the fact is that they violated laws designed to keep them from colluding.


No, they didn't. They followed standard procedure, some people complained and took them to court, and a judge ruled that they shouldn't use that procedure. But the "baby with the bathwater" aspect of this is that it weakens the right to avoid self-incrimination for police officers and sets a horrible precedent.

Quote:
And, please, give me a single legitimate reason why a police officer would need to consult a lawyer before submitting a report?


For the same reasons lawyers tell clients not to speak to the media, or to make statements without them present (yes, even innocent clients). The same argument you're trying to use here applies equally to anyone accused of a crime. That's why it's a dangerous precedent.
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