In Texas, police officers are already being outfitted with body cameras. Now, officers are also relying on cameras that are mounted on top of the officer’s weapon to provide evidence in a criminal case. This gives authorities one more way of proving a defendant’s actions in court, giving the state an additional possible advantage in a criminal trial.
Recently, a criminal trial in Houston involved the first use of this technology as evidence. The defendant was accused of pointing a sawed-off shotgun at an officer. There was video evidence of the alleged incident from the weapon camera. As a result of the evidence, the defendant was convicted of an assault on a public officer with a deadly weapon and received 40 years in prison.
Criminal defendants can expect that the greater use of technology on the officers’ bodies and weapons will mean more opportunities for the states to try to use this evidence as proof. Police departments across the country are soon going to make this a standard technology. In this case, it was the video evidence that formed the basis of the jury’s conviction. In fact, the jury only deliberated for 30 minutes before returning a guilty verdict against the defendant.
The use of these technologies across the country may present issues about whether certain evidence is admissible into court in a criminal law case. When there are issues of evidence, defendants need an attorney who would know the rules of evidence and how to lodge an objection with the court that could possibly exclude evidence such as this from the jury’s consideration. In many cases, the difference between a verdict of innocent or guilty depends on one particular piece of evidence and whether the judge would allow the jury to see it. Thus, legal representation is vital.