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  1. #1
    civilrights1778 is offline Junior Member
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    Expert evidence - police officer

    In the UK I often hear the reference to a 'trained' police officer being able to give evidence to the identification of cannabis. Apparently this evidence can be used in summary only proceedings where the defendant offers a plea of N.G. Is this true? if so how does the court get around the 'best evidence' rule? and how come this hasn't been challenged in the UK courts. It would seem to me that at the very best, without scientific analysis, the trained/experienced police officer can only say that it is probable that the substance is cannabis? I really would welcome your views/advice/experience...please! Thanks
  2. #2
    Isis1 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by civilrights1778 View Post
    In the UK I often hear the reference to a 'trained' police officer being able to give evidence to the identification of cannabis. Apparently this evidence can be used in summary only proceedings where the defendant offers a plea of N.G. Is this true? if so how does the court get around the 'best evidence' rule? and how come this hasn't been challenged in the UK courts. It would seem to me that at the very best, without scientific analysis, the trained/experienced police officer can only say that it is probable that the substance is cannabis? I really would welcome your views/advice/experience...please! Thanks
    er...US Law ONLY.
  3. #3
    Silverplum is offline Senior Member
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    We only do US law on this site.

    Quote Originally Posted by civilrights1778 View Post
    In the UK I often hear the reference to a 'trained' police officer being able to give evidence to the identification of cannabis. Apparently this evidence can be used in summary only proceedings where the defendant offers a plea of N.G. Is this true? if so how does the court get around the 'best evidence' rule? and how come this hasn't been challenged in the UK courts. It would seem to me that at the very best, without scientific analysis, the trained/experienced police officer can only say that it is probable that the substance is cannabis? I really would welcome your views/advice/experience...please! Thanks
  4. #4
    civilrights1778 is offline Junior Member
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    OK...Thanks for the info.

    What is the US legal stand on this? Anybody..?

    Thanks
  5. #5
    CdwJava is online now Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by civilrights1778 View Post
    OK...Thanks for the info.

    What is the US legal stand on this? Anybody..?

    Thanks
    It depends on what is being testified to. Generally, the officer is allowed to offer his "expert" opinion based upon his training and experience. If marijuana was seized, it can easily be tested so if the defense challenges it, the defense can test it at their own expense ... or, they can argue that there is no proof that the substance is marijuana.

    Likewise, an officer can testify to his training and experience and offer his expert opinion as to what it is.

    It all depends on the purpose behind the testimony and whether the actual substance - the "best evidence" - is available.
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM

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