Denver police used pre-printed forms to issue charges, misled arrestees
Thursday, August 28, 2008
The ACLU has accused the Denver Police Department of violating the constitutional rights of protesters arrested in the vicinity of the Democratic National Convention by denying them access to lawyers, forcing them to plead guilty to inappropriate charges and placing some of them in leg shackles.
The letter summarizes how basic facts of law and criminal justice were either ignored or turned on their head by the police in the absence of legal counsel for arrestees, itself a violation of the Constitution.
The ACLU alleges that police effectively forced some protesters into pleading guilty, by tricking them into believing they had to do so in order to post bond and gain access to a phone call.
In addition it is thought that some arrestees were led to believe that only they could post bond, rather than having a third party do it on their behalf.
“This meant that no one was allowed to make a phone call unless they plead guilty, thus making it impossible for arrestees to even call a lawyer until admitting guilt.” Raw Story writer John Byrne comments.
Furthermore, the letter charges that some of those in custody were told that pleading not guilty would result in a “double sentence” if convicted.