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

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 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.


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