XI. Impeaching Police Officer
A. FINANCIAL MOTIVE
Castillo v. State, 939 S.W.2d 754 (Tex.App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 1997 pet. ref’d)
Defense wanted to offer into evidence the aggregate, annual overtime income earned by arresting officer by testifying in court. Court held that though relevant, such testimony was properly excluded holding “(the) decision to make allegedly ’marginal’ arrests is too attenuated from any potential financial gains to overcome the risk of confusion of the issues, embarrassment, harassment, and undue delay”. Court did allow inquiry into amount earned for testifying in that case and his per hour wage.
Alexander v. State, 949 S.W.2d 772 (Tex.App.-Dallas 1997, pet. ref’d).
Reversible error in this case to not allow defense to cross-examine the arresting officer regarding a departmental directive establishing quotas for DWI arrests that was in place at the time of the defendant’s arrest.
C. EMPLOYMENT AND DISCIPLINARY HISTORY
Baldez v. State, 386 S.W.3d 324 (Tex.App.-San Antonio 2012, no pet.).
Court held that Defendant could not introduce arresting officer’s disciplinary report on cross-examination in trial for DWI where Defendant never argued officer was untrustworthy due to bias or interest against Defendant, and Defendant sought to introduce report for sole purpose of impeaching officer’s credibility which is prohibited by Texas Rules of Evidence, Rule 608(b).
Deleon v. State, No. 05-05-01335-CR, 2006 WL 1063765 (Tex.App.-Dallas 2006, no pet.) (not designated for publication).
In this case, the defense sought to cross examine the officer on his employment and disciplinary history. Specifically, the defense counsel sought to question the officer regarding:
- an off-duty incident in which he pursued vandals;
- a reprimand he received for missed court dates;
- statements in a “development plan” from officer’s personnel record that some of his reports were hastily written; and
- the circumstances surrounding his resignation from another police department more than ten years before the trial.
Held the Trial Court properly excluded the cross-examination on these issues as defense failed to show the relevance of these matters to the merits of the case or to any defensive strategy.