An officer was recently caught on video assaulting a person.
It is always shocking and saddening when a police officer clearly violates the law. It is equally disappointing when the judicial process that is supposed to protect our society, does everything in its power to get a police officer off the hook.
In this case, the Judge did not allow the video footage into court. The judge’s reasoning was that the video had not been authenticated. What this means is that there was no one who had taken the stand to say that the video accurately depicted the incident. Without someone saying that the video was accurate, the judge could not consider it.
In normal circumstances, Judges bend over backward to allow prosecutors to get evidence into the record. They will give prosecutor three or four chances to authenticate a document or video before finally not allowing it. For rookie prosecutors, they will allow documents to be authenticated without a proper record over the objection of defense counsel. But when a police officer is the defendant, all of the sudden Judges decide that they must rigorously apply the rules of evidence to protect the officer.
Tecnically, the judge is not wrong in requiring the video to be authenticated and keeping it out for a failure to authenticated the video. What is unfair here is threefold:
- that there was a clear assault by the officer against a person in handcuffs;
- that the prosecutor did not do his job to get the video admitted; and
- that Judges often have a double standard for the admission of evidence, depending on who the defendant is.
The American perception of our Judicial system is that the fair and just result will prevail. The just and fair result in this case would have been holding the police officer responsible for his assault. But in this case, it appears that the prosecutor did nothing to present the video. This is not justice. Rather, it is a prosecutor providing ineffective assistance of counsel by not doing his best to get the evidence into the record. Because the prosecutor did not do his job, our courtrooms, and hence our system of government, loses credibility. Additionally, the judge allowed this charade to occur in his courtroom. The Judge should have made sure that the prosecutor was going to do his job, and if he did not, the judge should have found him in contempt or found a conflict of interest and gotten someone in there that would do the job. To simply allow police officers to rule the courtroom is to undercut the purpose of judges.
The bottom line is that this Police Officer should have gone to jail.
The information in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or as the creation of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice, please contact an Attorney.