Officer's Training and Experience

Continued From Page 2...

Again, however, it is the rare officer who obtains a written alphabet rather than the much more convenient (to the officer) oral recitation. And it is of interest to the jury that the officer is not only utilizing an inferior method of determining intoxication, but is the kind of officer who willfully violates stated departmental policy.

Arresting officers shall point out the convenience of location in choosing the intoxilyzer over other tests administered at Orange County Jail . . . . Don't tell the arrestee that refusal is one of his choices.

Yet, the officer will always testify that he never tried to influence the defendant in any way.

Take complete notes in the field and write your report as close in time to the arrest as possible. When nothing is written down until after the arrest or, even worse, after booking, you are very vulnerable to defense attack. ... [Emphasis in original.]

Despite this training, it is a rare officer who takes notes in the field (if they exist they should be discoverable, of course), and an even rarer one who writes the formal report before booking.

Defense attorneys do not want to go to trial . . . . Remember, that while you have different audiences in report writing, your most important audience is the defense attorney. A thousand words which do not create concrete pictures in his mind will not persuade him. A few specific descriptions, however, will send him scurrying for plea forms.

It is of considerable interest to juries that the arrest report which the officer has so often referred to for purposes of refreshing his memory is hardly an objective presentation of facts. Quite the contrary, the "most important" purpose for the report is to paint as black a picture of the suspect as possible so that the defense attorney will plead him or her guilty. Not only does this call into question the ability of the officer to accurately recall the events in question after reading such a distorted set of facts, but it should also create some real concern about the ethics involved in such a procedure.