How Do Police Body Cameras Impact a Criminal Defense Case?

July 16, 2020 News & Announcements

How Do Police Body Cameras Impact a Criminal Defense Case?

Body worn cameras are deployed across the United States by law enforcement agencies at every level. These cameras, usually deployed at the chest level allow a police officer to video interactions with the public during potentially high-stress confrontations, many agencies require their use. Currently, these devices have been deployed across the state of Florida by twenty-nine out of sixty-seven counties and in over one hundred local police departments. The ability to store and access this information benefits citizens in these jurisdictions, the police, and defense attorneys dedicated to protecting your rights.

Why are Body Worn Cameras Important?

Body worn camera usage helps to create and foster police accountability. Police are often accused of planting evidence, using too much force, making up reasons for contact, or harassing citizens. There is a substantial incentive for individual officers to lie about or cover up these instances of legitimate misconduct, just as there is incentive for those accused of a crime to derail the investigation. Body worn cameras allow the public, the media, and elected officials to hold those officers who engage in legitimate misconduct accountable for their actions. Their use also helps to weed out false reports of misconduct and prevent them from diminishing true victims of police brutality and other misfeasance and malfeasance. As the protests rocking our nation continue, reforms are sweeping the nation to create mandatory body worn laws, and foster this kind of accountability for police, there are other substantial benefits to their use.

Police Training

Police departments also favor the use of body worn cameras (although not necessarily the cost of implementation). Body worn footage can be used to assist police departments after an incident to prevent recurrences and to correct suspect behavior. Body worn footage allows for immediate review of behavior without having to go through potentially muddy testimony regarding an encounter. Police agencies are able to concretely see when an encounter goes very right or very wrong and duplicate that footage to train away from troubling behavior and towards positive decision making. This is often far cheaper and more effective than creating unrealistic training videos of staged situations, or lecturing police officers on correct behavior without real-life reference points. Body worn footage continues to be useful far beyond police encounters and through the ensuing criminal case.

Defense Use of Body Worn Cameras

First and foremost, body worn footage, when viewed by a shrewd criminal defense attorney can reveal the basis for dismissal of criminal charges. This can either take the form of factual innocence or legal defenses. Factual innocence can be revealed when it shows another perpetrator, or shows the incident leading to arrest directly and does not support one of the elements.  When body worn shows that a case is unwinnable for the prosecution, that gives a defense attorney the best possible leverage for dismissal. Legal defenses can also be revealed through body worn footage. Every day, citizens across the country have constitutional rights violated by police in the search of criminal evidence. Often times these are mistakes, but accident or not this is a crucial area for attacking a case. Body worn footage can reveal illegal searches, stops without reasonable suspicion, and a myriad of other violations that can end a criminal case by way of dismissal.

Tallahassee Criminal Defense Attorney

Don Pumphrey and the members of the legal team at Pumphrey Law Firm have decades of experience representing individuals accused of crimes in Tallahassee and throughout the state of Florida. As body worn usage has increased across the state and the nation, Don Pumphrey and the legal team have been on the forefront of using this evidence to benefit the accused. The results speak for themselves and show that we are dedicated to defending the rights of clients in any circumstance and will fight for the best possible result. Call a Tallahassee defense attorney today at (850) 681-7777 or send an online message today to discuss your rights during an open and free consultation with our legal team.

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