Can a police officer suggest a suspect to a victim?

UPDATED: Oct 18, 2011

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Can a police officer suggest a suspect to a victim?

My husband saw a friend of his that lives in our neighborhood today and the friend informed my husband that his house had been broken into a few days ago. The friend said that he had contacted the police and that they had brought up my husband by name and said that he lived in the neighborhood. Were my husband’s rights violated when this officer basically suggested my husband as a suspect? Thankfully this man knew that my husband would never do anything like that but what if he didn’t know him? What if this guy was some psycho that decided to come to my house with a weapon to accuse my husband of robbing him? The fact is that my husband does have a criminal record but his arrests were years ago when he was in his late teens and early twenties and mostly for fighting with his then girlfriend, steeling a car, and being caught with pot. Should he make a complaint? I feel his rights were violated when the officer mentioned him by name and insinuated that he could be a suspect because he has a record. Thank you.

Asked on October 18, 2011 under Criminal Law, Massachusetts


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

There is nothing improper for a law enforcement officer who is investigating a crime to suggest to the victim names of possible people who may have been responsible for the event that is being investigated. It is part of law enforcement's duty to do this in that possible motives for the crime may come to light.

No rights of your husband were violated by the inquiry by the police officer that you have written about. The reason why your husband's name may have popped up is due to the criminal history he has and the close proximity that he has to where the crime occurred.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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