Yesterday, a New York City police officer was asked in a routine drunk driving trial in the Bronx if she believed it was her right as an officer to get tickets fixed, the New York Times reports. “It's a courtesy that's given from an officer to another,” she replied. The broad shadow of a police ticket-fixing scandal is beginning to affect the judicial system.
For weeks, a grand jury has been hearing evidence in a wide-ranging investigation of the age-old practice of ticket-fixing. Though the investigation has not been formally announced and has not resulted in any arrests, its reach has already begun to extend to trial courtrooms. It rolled into an attempted murder case last week, and now it was touching drunken driving. Any police officer swept up in the scandal — and the number is thought to be as high as 300 — is susceptible to being asked about the topic when showing up as a witness in unrelated cases. And if jurors cease to believe the words of police officers because they monkeyed with tickets, then it is in these courtrooms that the most corrosive impact of the scandal may be felt.