What the heck is a LUD anyway?


Hardly a Law & Order episode goes by without detectives pulling someone's LUDs, which more often than not lead to a breakthrough in the investigation. The acronym stands for “local usage details,” which is a list of a person's incoming and outgoing phone calls over a specified period of time. While LUDs are easy to obtain for police, they're not readily available at a cop's whim. Phone records are treated as private information, so investigators must prove to a judge that the “search” is warranted, in which case, the judge will grant a court order for the phone company to provide a suspect's LUDs.

The "Squeeze"

Say Detective Briscoe approaches a drug dealer who he just knows has information valuable to his case. The scene will usually play out like this: Briscoe asks a question, and the dealer plays dumb, so Briscoe comes up with an excuse to frisk the dealer. He finds a bag of cocaine and says something to his partner like, “What do you know? Our friend here was just about to powder his nose.” The cuffs come out. The dealer gets the message and spills his guts. It's called the squeeze, and it's illegal.

According to procedure, the detectives are supposed to arrest the person on the spot and bring him to a DA, who will work out a plea-for-information deal. Only the DA's office has the authority to put the squeeze on.

Hostile Witnesses

During trial, the ADA will often ask for permission to “treat the witness as hostile.” What exactly does this mean? When a witness is called to the stand, his testimony is expected to support the argument of the side that subpoenaed him. If the witness becomes evasive or changes his testimony on the stand, the lawyer is given permission by the judge to treat the witness as if he were called to the stand by the opposing side—which legally changes the nature of the questions and language the lawyer uses to ask them. That is to say, the direct examination becomes a cross examination, allowing the DA to use leading questions, giving the lawyer more latitude to suggest how the witness should answer.




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