One of my fellow interns was representing a client charged with simple possession during a preliminary hearing. The officer on the stand testified to facts that were completely different than what was written in the police report. Moreover, his testimony was impossible based on the lay-out of the room. The intern was unable to impeach the officer because we all were unaware that he would stray so far from the police report. Moreover, he did not write the police report so we couldn't impeach him with it. This actually turned out well for our client because all this stuff will be impeachable when or if it goes to trial. We expect the charges to be dismissed in the very near future.
Still, I was totally disturbed by the officer's testimony. Does this rise to the level of perjury? Where do we separate a mistake of fact with out right lying? Anyway, it's not like the D.A. is going to charge a police officer with perjury. I guess I still had a lot of faith that taking an oath in court is important.