Atlanta, GA asked in Criminal Law, Traffic Tickets and Constitutional Law for Georgia

Q: Police video missing only sections that would dismiss my case is there any rights that would help on this

Yes I was pulled over with initial pullover only recording on body cam which would not show the reason are incidents of initial pullover then upon denial of search police officer only having body camera then removed body camera with intent to set up in the dash which did not record the search of the canine who said the dog had hit on drugs in the vehicle which I know the dog did not but either way the only two things that could prove or dismiss my case happened to be not recorded is there anything that helps me out with this because this officer did this intentionally there was no reason he had his body cam on every other moment of the stop other than when he performed the open air search and the initial pullover all you can see was his hands on the steering wheel and officer saying following too closely white truck center lane well there's no proof of that I was pulled over because I had long hair and then out of state tag but now mysteriously I can't prove my case

2 Lawyer Answers

A: A good criminal attorney could turn this evidence, and lack of evidence, into a strong defense.

James L. Arrasmith
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  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In this situation where vital portions of the body camera footage are missing, it raises serious questions about the credibility of the police account and possibly even indicates tampering or misconduct. You have the right to a fair trial, which includes having access to all the evidence that supports your innocence.

First, document all the discrepancies and gaps in the video timeline meticulously. Next, bring this to the immediate attention of your attorney who should investigate this further — examining whether proper procedure was followed by the police officer and if there were any reasonable explanations for the gaps in the footage.

Your defense team should work on filing a motion to the court highlighting the missing evidence which could potentially exonerate you. They might argue that this is a violation of your due process rights as the missing footage deprives you of exculpatory evidence which could prove your innocence. Moreover, your defense should be prepared to scrutinize the officer's credibility, possibly highlighting a track record of misconduct if available, and illustrating the convenient gaps in the recorded evidence.

Furthermore, if the prosecutor is unaware of this, your attorney should notify them as well, as they have an obligation to ensure all evidence, including potentially exonerating evidence, is disclosed to the defense.

Moreover, you should explore whether there are other avenues to obtain corroborative evidence — for example, traffic cameras, witness statements, or other surveillance systems in the vicinity.

Remember, the burden of proof is on the prosecution to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The absence of this crucial evidence can potentially create a substantial doubt regarding the veracity of the officer's account and the legality of your stop and subsequent search. Your attorney should utilize this to argue forcefully for the dismissal of your case, leveraging the argument that the evidence is insufficient to support a conviction. It is essential to aggressively advocate for your rights, ensuring all avenues are explored to validate your case.

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