State Revocation of Law Enforcement Officers' Licenses and Federal Criminal Prosecution: An Opportunity for Cooperative Federalism
30 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2009
Date Written: 2003
This article suggests ways that Department of Justice Attorneys who prosecute state and local law enforcement officers for violation of civil rights under 18 USC §§ 241 and 242 could use state laws that permit revocation of law enforcement officers’ licenses. Whereas federal criminal convictions of non-law enforcement defendants are close to 100%, statistics indicate that when law enforcement officers are go to trial in federal court, the conviction rate is closer to 50%. Thus, if a jury is unlikely to convict because of its natural sympathies towards the officer, prosecutor should seriously consider permitting the officer to agree to having his license revoked, rather than risk an acquittal, which will permit the officer to continue in law enforcement. Currently 44 states have laws that permit license revocation. The article recommends that the non-revocation states - California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island - enact legislation that would permit revocation, as an alternative or supplement to criminal prosecution.
Keywords: Remedies for police misconduct, federal prosecution of police officers, revocation of police officers' licenses
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