BPD Lt.'s rape charge, resignation impacts future cases, attorney says

Birmingham Police Lt. Peter Williston (Jefferson County Jail)

UPDATE: A former Birmingham Police lieutenant is out of a job and out on bail from a rape charge of an underage family member.

According to former Lt. Peter Williston's representing attorney he resigned from his position effective immediately.

Williston was taken into custody Monday and left jail on a $50,000 bond Tuesday.

His arrest could have a legal ripple effect. A criminal defense attorney told ABC 33/40 this is a game changer when it comes to future court proceedings.

He says while the former Public Information Officer may be out of jail, he is certainly not out of the clear.

An attorney says it can be blood in the water for any investigation he’s worked on that enters the courtroom.

What happens if the ones enforcing the law are accused of breaking it?

The man who was one of Birmingham's top rangking officers is and it has legal ramifications.

Hours after his resignation Tuesday night, the accusation of Williston raping an underage family member is shaking up more than public trust says defense attorney Victor Revill.

"Me personally as a criminal defense attorney I despise bad cops. I’m not saying Williston is a bad cop because I don’t know, but if there’s a bad cop involved it definitely makes it a better case for my client," Revill says.

Think of it this way: it's a matter of trust according to Revill. He says, “Now there’s a credibility issue or at least he is suspect for a credibility issue. Any time (an) officer gets charged with something, any criminal defense attorney is gonna use that against him if they come into court."

The bottom line is this says Revill. When you have someone like Williston, who was once responsible for the entire East Precinct and the head of releasing information to the public, who is now facing serious charges... it hurts a prosecutor's case that may have involved him as a cop.

"The prosecution is not going to want to bring that officer in to testify in a case because that officer is already being prosecuted," he says.

I did reach out to Jefferson County District Attorney Mike Anderton but he did not call ABC 33/40 Reporter Patrick Thomas back at the time of our newscast.

In the past, Anderton did say if an officer "was the lead investigator, certainly it might" have some impact on those cases.

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