What Do Police Officer Defense Attorneys Do?
A police officer defense attorney is a very specialized type of lawyer who represents law enforcement personnel when they are accused of crime. Your membership with PLEA provides you the benefits of the PORAC Legal Defense Fund, which provides prepaid access to an attorney who is available to you any time of the day or night and is willing to respond to incidents such as officer-involved shootings, which often occur in the middle of the night; in-custody deaths; and other on-duty related incidents.
Officer-involved shootings are often traumatic and stressful for the officer. Having a police officer defense attorney respond to the scene alongside you to protect your rights is so important. A police officer defense attorney will be present with you at the scene of the shooting to discuss the shooting and your role. This is done alone, to maintain attorney–client privilege before you ever provide a statement to homicide detectives or investigators. The same is true for in-custody deaths or other allegations that are criminal in nature. A police officer defense attorney will come to the scene regardless of the time of day or night to assist you.
Also, there may be times when you are involved in an on-duty incident that exposes you to criminal liability. If you are accused of a crime while on duty, you will need the best possible defense lawyer to help you throughout the investigation, including trial, and to clear your name — a police officer defense attorney who knows the ins and outs of the criminal justice system and will be able to mount a strong defense against the allegations, who is experienced in representing police officers and can also assist you if you are charged with a crime outside the normal course and scope of your employment, such as a DUI or a domestic-violence-related offense. Only those attorneys who have a demonstrated track record in successfully defending and assisting police officers become a part of the Legal Defense Fund panel for PORAC.
My name is Jess A. Lorona, and I am a Legal Defense Fund attorney. I have represented police officers in over 30 officer-involved shootings. I have assisted numerous police officers when they have been investigated by the Special Investigation Division of the City of Phoenix Police Department. I will be with you during those interviews conducted by SID, regardless of the nature of the complaint, and provide my full legal advice. I have successfully represented officers who have been charged with on-duty and off-duty crimes. I have represented officers through complex trial hearings with successful verdicts. There is also the administrative side related to criminal investigations. I have attended Loudermill hearings to speak for officers who still have a pending criminal matter, because those statements are not Garrity protected.
I have been practicing law for 38 years. My practice areas include criminal defense of felonies and misdemeanors, including DUI defense. I have been working with PLEA as an LDF panel attorney for over seven years, and you can rely on me to be there when you need it most. If you are involved in a critical incident, immediately contact the PLEA representative on call by contacting the radio supervisor. If you’re ever in need of assistance, please feel free to contact me at (602) 385-6818 or email email@example.com.
My name is Alan Kuffner. I am a partner at the law firm of Bustamante & Kuffner PC. My law partner, Manny Bustamante, and I have been in private practice for 23 years together. I grew up in New York and moved to Arizona in order to attend law school at Arizona State University. I began my legal career as a clerk for a federal judge and then worked as a deputy county attorney at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. I am currently the Avondale city prosecutor and the El Mirage city prosecutor. I am also a criminal defense attorney for the PORAC Legal Defense Fund. I have completed numerous jury trials, both as a prosecutor and as a defense attorney, so I am very confident and well-versed with the judicial system. I am also an outside instructor with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, teaching annual training courses on the Fourth and 14th Amendments along with bias-free policing. I am an adjunct law professor teaching courses in criminal procedure, business law, ethics and contracts.
It has been an absolute pleasure working as a panel defense attorney for the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association in conjunction with PORAC’s Legal Defense Fund. The most enjoyable part of my legal career has been getting to know and working with law enforcement officers. As a panel defense attorney, I will usually meet with officers late at night or on the weekends after a critical incident regarding the use of force or an in-custody significant injury or death. I provide advice and guidance prior to an officer deciding whether to participate by providing a statement or complete interview with detectives concerning their involvement in the incident. It is important to have these confidential discussions prior to making that decision. I provide advice and perspective on how to convey certain information in the interview and walkthrough, both of which I am present for. During the interview and walkthrough, I will also ask follow-up and clarifying questions to ensure that the incident is properly documented from the perspective of the officer. The initial interview is extremely important, as all critical incidents will be reviewed by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and can lead to potential criminal charges and civil liability. The PLEA panel attorneys appointed to represent officers regarding any criminal liability work very closely with the PLEA representatives on the administrative side to ensure both aspects of any issue are handled in the light most favorable to the officer.
If you have any questions or need to reach me, call (602) 402-7952 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you and be safe. PLEA