Johnny Depp’s United States defamation trial towards his ex-wife Amber Heard began on April 16. The trial is meant to final six weeks and, similar to a film, is already stuffed with twists, turns, suspense and drama.

In 2012, Depp and Heard began relationship. In 2014 they have been engaged, and in 2015 have been married. However by 2016, Heard filed for divorce stating irreconcilable variations. Quickly after, Heard filed an order of safety saying Depp emotionally, verbally and bodily abused her. Heard wrote an op-ed for “The Washington Submit” talking out towards violence towards ladies and the worth they pay for talking up towards males. Depp claims these allegations led to Depp being dropped by Disney from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise and axed from Warner Brothers’ “Incredible Beasts” franchise.

So, what does this case should do with police work? Much more than you suppose.

Actor Johnny Depp testifies during the trial at Fairfax County Circuit Court in Fairfax, Va., Wednesday, April 20, 2022. Depp sued his ex-wife Amber Heard for libel in Fairfax County Circuit Court after she wrote an op-ed piece in The Washington Post in 2018 referring to herself as a

Actor Johnny Depp testifies throughout the trial at Fairfax County Circuit Courtroom in Fairfax, Va., Wednesday, April 20, 2022. Depp sued his ex-wife Amber Heard for libel in Fairfax County Circuit Courtroom after she wrote an op-ed piece in The Washington Submit in 2018 referring to herself as a “public determine representing home abuse.” (Evelyn Hockstein/Pool through AP)

4 sides to an investigation

We’ve got at all times heard that there are at all times two sides to an investigation. One aspect comes from the sufferer, and the opposite aspect comes from the suspect. What we frequently overlook is that there are two extra sides to each police investigation: the prison aspect and the civil aspect.

Each crime has a prison aspect and a civil aspect. For instance, in a homicide case, the prison aspect offers with the act of breaking the state statute. Legal litigation is introduced by the state. The civil aspect offers with the precise act of inflicting somebody’s demise (wrongful demise) and civil litigation is introduced by personal events.

However what occurs if there’s not sufficient proof to carry prison fees towards the perpetrator? Or what occurs if the case goes to trial however will get dismissed? The sufferer’s household has the precise to sue civilly in courtroom for any damages brought on by the wrongful demise. The state takes no motion on this course of.

The very best-profile civil wrongful demise case could be the OJ Simpson homicide trial. He was discovered not responsible of homicide, however the victims’ households sued Mr. Simpson civilly for wrongful demise and the jury awarded them sixty million {dollars}.

In 2016, LAPD responded to Depp and Heard’s penthouse to analyze a possible home violence scenario. The officers responded and spoke with Ms. Heard. Throughout their investigation, they discovered “no proof of against the law” and left. Their prison investigation turned non-criminal. However years later, that decision is being utilized in civil proceedings.

Irrespective of the crime, there generally is a civil aspect to your investigation.

Documenting non-criminal acts or allegations of against the law

All businesses have insurance policies about when to jot down a report and when to not write a report. I’ve but to return throughout an company that requires an officer to jot down a report for each name. That may be a colossal waste of time.

In 2016, the LAPD responded to Depp and Heard’s penthouse solely to search out out that no crime occurred. They informed the press that officers didn’t write a report as a result of they didn’t see any harm to property and didn’t see any accidents on Heard. It’s common observe in legislation enforcement to not write a police report when an officer doesn’t see any harm or accidents, or when no allegations of accidents have been made.

What’s essential to notice is that the attorneys on each side emphasised police documentation of non-criminal acts. Simply because an officer doesn’t write a police report, doesn’t imply the officer can merely simply stroll away. The officer ought to at all times embody at the very least a number of notes simply in case that data is required later.

Listed below are 3 ways businesses can doc non-criminal issues:

  1. Use computer-aided dispatch (CAD) feedback: Each company has a means of clearing calls by attaching the officer’s written feedback to CAD particulars. These feedback are linked to the incident quantity, which might be retrieved later.
  2. Area Interview Report: If you wish to doc slightly extra than simply CAD feedback, your company will seemingly have a system the place you possibly can doc particulars utilizing a “mini-report,” typically referred to as and discipline interview report. These are quick 1-2 paragraph statements of what the officer did or noticed and who the officer spoke with.
  3. Conventional police report: Some officers suppose they can’t write a police report if their prison investigation turns non-criminal. This isn’t the case. Non-criminal experiences are sometimes referred to as informational (data) experiences. Information experiences can flip into prison experiences later if detectives discover all the weather of against the law. They will also be used to assist prison investigations, metropolis engineers, planning departments and coaching models. Extra importantly, data experiences are used to doc what the officers did and why they have been there within the first place.

CAD feedback, discipline interview experiences and conventional data police experiences are wonderful methods of documenting what occurred and what the officer did throughout an investigation. All three will also be requested by way of public data (FOIL) requests or subpoenas, and all three can be utilized on each the prison and the civil sides of litigation.

Under: LAPD Officer William Gatlin testified throughout the Johnny Depp defamation trial towards his ex-wife Amber Heard that he responded to the couple’s house over a combat in Might 2016. Gatlin wore a physique digital camera whereas responding to the scene. This was the second time police have been referred to as to the house that day.

You might be subpoenaed to testify for non-criminal trials

Officers are stunned when they’re subpoenaed or deposed for a “non-police” investigation. Keep in mind, you might be similar to every other witness or citizen. You simply occurred to be doing all your job as a police officer when the incident occurred.

Civil instances, in contrast to prison instances, can take a really very long time to finish. It’s common for civil instances to final greater than 5 years, so sufficient documentation – no matter that appears like for you – is crucial in these instances.

The Johnny Depp defamation case is an efficient instance of how civil investigations work. The incident occurred in Might of 2016, however the officer’s depositions weren’t taken till April 2021. Satisfactory notes will allow you to recall particulars in these instances.


The Johnny Depp defamation go well with is an ideal instance of how the civil justice system intersects with the prison justice system. Regardless that the officers didn’t write a report on this incident, the CAD feedback, on-body video and officers’ testimony have been used years later within the civil authorized proceedings.

Remember the fact that what you do and the way you doc the information could have an effect on these round you. What appears unimportant to you might be essential for another person. Even when you don’t write a proper report, work on bettering the way you doc non-criminal investigations. Begin by together with a number of extra feedback, a number of extra particulars and some extra sentences. These notes go a good distance for these concerned on the civil aspect of investigations.

If ever you’ve any questions on if you need to write a report, comply with your coach’s recommendation, “When doubtful, write it out.”

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