Comments about ‘Fired West Valley officer's defense team goes on the offensive’

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Published: Monday, July 28 2014 5:35 p.m. MDT

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Sandy, UT

They should be thanking their lucky stars it was just a manslaughter charge. I guess that's what you call murder when the killer happens to have a badge and a public paycheck.

salt lake city, utah

The defense team seeks to broaden what the 5th Amendment defines as "compelled".

The 5th Amendment protects former detective Cowley from being forced to make compelled statements which may incriminate him. If the statements do not incriminate him, then it does not apply. The threat of losing your job, while practically coercive, may not be legally equivalent to interrogation or forcing incriminating statements. For example, Wal Mart may have a policy to fire any employee who refuses to answer questions when co-worker makes an allegation. This policy is doubly important when cops are shooting people for good or bad reasons.

I agree that any promise made to not use the statements in court should be honored for policy reasons; but that does not mean that the statements cannot be used by investigators to decide whether or not they believe Cowley is credible, and whether they should press charges.

Also, ask any convicted murderer in Utah if they felt that the media coverage tainted the jury...every major allegation comes with media coverage. They will vet the jury before trial for evidence of that taint and exclude jurors exposed to the coverage.

ER in AF
Harare, Zimbabwe, 00

Plebian- A Garrity interview is prefaced by a written warning in the same way a Miranda warning is issued. However, the Garrity Warniing & Waiver states the interview is administrative in nature and that he can be compelled to answer statements or he will lose his job. But the warning has the caveat that the coerced statements cannot be used against him for any type of criminal proceedings. That is the trade-off for the compulsion. Talk or you lose your job, but we will not (and cannot if it was truly a Garrity waiver) use it for criminal charges. The waiver is signed by the person prior to the interview/interrogation.

You cannot do a bait and switch. Miranda him and he has rights to not incriminate himself. Garrity him and he can be compelled, but his statements cannot be used criminally. If it is proven the prosecution is using statements made in the Garrity interview as material deciding factors about prosecution, then the case likely will be thrown out. If they have enough other strong evidence, then the case will proceed based on that evidence.

West Jordan, UT

If I were considering law enforcement as a career in this area I would think twice about it after seeing the actions of Sim Gill's office the last few years. Why should anyone want to put their life on the line to protect others only to be charged with manslaughter and your career ruined because someone who wasn't there thinks you should have reacted differently? I admire and appreciate those who try to enforce our laws and keep us safe all the while knowing that one mistaken split second decision in a dangerous situation can change your life forever or even end your life.

This is not a cop show or "Person of Interest" where corrupt officers are everywhere killing people to benefit themselves. This is Utah where most cops are just out there honestly trying to serve the community.

BYU Fan in DC
Washington, DC

I honestly believe had the person shot and killed been a 21-year doped up man, this case would never have gone here, but since it was a female who barely weighed 100 pounds, it is making news. Fact is, she tried to run him over. I hope justice prevails.

Tooele, UT

When did this Law Enforcer feel his life was in DANGER? Cop with gun, some ones little girl with no gun. Was it the car? Move out of the way, it's poor excuse to KILL.


This case needs to go to trial.

Cowley mishandled evidence.

Is the ex-federal judge attempting to cover-up corruption that exists in positions of power?

Sandy, UT

Let me now suggest a training technique for the Police Officers Standards & Training program in Utah: When you think an occupied vehicle might move in your direction and possibly impact you, merely step to the side to avoid the collision. This takes much less time than it would take to draw a weapon, aim the weapon, and fire the weapon in the direction of the vehicle's occupant(s) and/or driver. Is this too advanced for training in this century?

one vote
Salt Lake City, UT

Stop, bang, or I will shoot. This was just an investigation. No warrant and reason to use deadly force.

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