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Of course, Theodore Roosevelt was never a lawyer.  
Yes, he did enter Columbia Law School, but he
dropped out after the first year.  Had he become a
lawyer, he might have had to adjust his thinking.  
Once you see people in court rooms being given
special consideration simply because of who they
are, you should evaluate your own power of
discretion.  As a police officer, you'll exercise
discretion many times, but the beneficiaries of your
discretion should never receive your mercy because
of "who" they are.
Leave opinions to the lawyers.  As a police officer,
your duty to enforce laws should be based on literal
interpretation of laws.
"People whose profession it is to
disguise matters
." - Thomas More
“A jury consists of twelve persons
chosen to decide who has the better
lawyer.”
- Robert Frost
"Those whose interests and abilities
lie in perverting, confounding and
eluding the law."
 - Jonathan Swift
“No man is above the law and no man is
below it; nor do we ask any man's
permission when we ask him to obey it.”
 
- Theodore Roosevelt
“Opinion is the medium between
knowledge and ignorance.”
 - Plato
"The first thing that's going to strike you is
how something that seems so obvious can be
discussed into something unrecognizable."
~ Barry M. Baker
When you become a police officer, your main focus
should be on "being right" as often as possible.  As
long as you get yourself up to speed on reasonable
suspicion, probable cause, search and seizure, and
you keep reference material on laws and ordinances
close at hand, you'll be in pretty good shape.

As you begin taking cases into the court room,
you're going to suffer some enormous frustration.  
Some of it will be of your own making and some
won't.  Just accept the frustration as a learning
experience.  As your knowledge and experience
grows, you'll remove the frustration of your own
making, and you'll learn how to anticipate and avoid
the frustration created by the lawyers.  The latter
source of frustration is a permanent condition, and
your only defense will always be your knowledge
and preparation.  
The first thing that's going to strike you is how
something that seems so obvious can be discussed
into something unrecognizable. When you see this
happen, look to yourself, because it's probably your
fault.  Police officers are notorious for believing that
simply stating the obvious in their probable cause
statements is all that's needed.  Probable cause is a
standard that requires only sufficient evidence to
arrest and charge a person, it need not be sufficient
to convict a person.  While the lesser standard may
be all that's available sometimes, most of the time
you'll be able to go well beyond that standard.  

You've got to think like a lawyer.  If you read a
probable cause statement that is thorough and
complete with facts, observations, and references
to other evidence that leaves little to no room for
manipulation, you'll be inclined to seek a deal.  If
you look at a probable cause statement that simply
meets the standard, you'll look forward to getting
that police officer under cross examination and tie
him or her up in knots.  Once you're embarrassed,
or even humiliated, you'll know exactly what I'm
talking about.
Once you become familiar with juries, you'll wonder
what all the fuss is over legalizing gambling.  You'll
be in for a treat the first time you watch a really
good lawyer perform in front of a jury.  Closing
arguments can change the momentum of a trial that
seems, up to that point, to be going in your favor.  
Some defense lawyers can be so persuasive and
convincing you'll begin to doubt yourself.  That self
doubt won't last long, but just imagine if the
oratory has that temporary effect on you, think
about where it's taking the jury.  The prosecutor
has the opportunity to rebut the defense lawyer's
closing argument.  If the prosecutor is as good as
his or her opponent, the first performance can be
mitigated.  If not...flip a coin.
Look...if everything were simply matters of fact, and
a reasonable interpretation of fact, the term "rule of
law" might actually apply pretty evenly to everybody
and everything.  You'll soon learn that the rule of
law is more about winning than about justice.  You'll
also learn that some members of the Bar have the
same problems with integrity, ethics, credibility, and
criminality as people in any other profession.
Rule of Law
...or Lawyers
Copyright © 2018  Barry M. Baker  
CareerPoliceOfficer.com
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