Investigation in the Digital Age: Cruiser Video

Any lawyer can analyze facts in relation to the defined law (after all that’s how they pass the bar exam). Some are better than others at the analysis. As professional athletes, the separation between the top and the bottom is not drastic when it comes to the analytical abilities of the legal industry. What sets some attorneys apart? Attitude, charisma, systems and work ethic are several factors that separate successful attorneys who obtain positive results for their clients and those attorneys who struggle and fall short of their clients’ expectations.

Constant education on current issues and industry tools also puts some lawyers ahead of their counterparts. I am often shocked by the failure of attorneys to stay abreast of advancements in technology that impact their clients. All too often it is the lawyer who likes the occasional thrill of accepting a criminal defense matter who refuses to stay current on technology. The clients of a dabbler in criminal defense suffer because of it.

Cruiser video and the technology installed in law enforcement cruisers is often a treasure trove of information. All too often law enforcement officers embellish the facts of the incident in their reports; video of those events provide irrefutable proof of the officer’s exaggerations. Sometimes law enforcement officers blatantly fabricate facts in respect to the blue wall of silence; video is their downfall. Savvy criminal defense attorneys know how to obtain the video and ensure its preservation throughout litigation.

In Seattle, a video expert was falsely accused of obstruction of justice by an officer on a power trip. Cruiser video backed the innocent man’s version of the events. Initially, the law enforcement agency claimed there was no video and refused to provide the recording. Through persistence, he obtained the video and the criminal charges against him were dismissed. After his exoneration, he sued the police department for failure to provide the video when first requested.

He won the lawsuit and, in addition to monetary damages, the courts ordered disclosure of all cruiser video between certain dates.

All too often video evidence comes up “missing.” Computer malfunction, officer error and short retention periods are the excuses law enforcement tosses out and the courts are all too happy to accept. The Law Office of Brian Jones vigorously pursues your rights under the United States and Ohio Constitutions to Due Process through access to all the evidence available. When law enforcement destroys this critical evidence we will use motion practice to request sanctions on the government for failing to preserve video of the events in your case.