Question: Do you review the police report as part of the discovery process in a Michigan OWI case? Do officers ever cut and paste their narratives?
Answer: Yes, we absolutely review the police report and the narrative. It is only a piece of the puzzle, but it is a big piece. The report provides us several things; it’s the officer’s version of the events. It allows an attorney like me to also detect the training of the officer based upon the specific language that is used for descriptions of field sobriety tests.
It also allows us to help educate the clients as to potential legal issues and potential motions that we may file. Based upon our experience and training, we know that an officer is trained how to fill out a police report. It must be accurate; it must be truthful; it must be thorough. Therefore, what is not in the police report is often as important or more important that what is in the police report.
And yes, unfortunately, cut-and-paste or fill-in-the-blank tactics in police reports certainly do occur. Due to our focus on this specific area of law, we have a huge database of cases, and therefore officers, that we’ve been in contact with.
I recently presented a case where 10 reports from the same officer were clearly cut-and-paste. This resulted in a very positive result for our client.