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DUI Dismissed When Police Fail to Provide Camera Footage

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camera footage, Illinois criminal defense attorneyAlthough you may not know it, whenever you are driving in an and around the Chicago area, you are probably never too far from a POD, or police observational device. These PODs are video cameras that have been installed around the city to help provide an additional level of public safety, as well as to contribute to law enforcement efforts. Of course, police-related video cameras have become a hot-button issue of late, in the wake of several violent incidents, but PODs can also assist with other, more commonplace investigations, including those for traffic violations and driving under the influence (DUI).

Discovery Violations

In June of 2012, a man was arrested on charges of driving under influence of alcohol. As he prepared for his defense, he subpoenaed all available audio and video recordings related to his arrest and processing. In the immediate area the arrest, there were at least four POD cameras, and the defendant specifically identified their locations in his request. The Chicago Police Department responded that no dashcam footage of the arrest was found. Repeated requests were met with the response that the footage from POD cameras had been overwritten and were no longer available.

The trial judge determined that the Chicago PD's failure to provide properly-subpoenaed information represented a discovery violation, subject to sanctions. The court decided that based on the missing video, the testimony of officers on the scene was to be excluded, effectively ending any chance of conviction on DUI charges. The State appealed, claiming that the trial judge acted outside of appropriate discretion by precluding the officers' testimony, but, just last month, an Illinois appellate court affirmed the original decision.

Proper Procedures

While the State claimed the video of the defendant's arrest would provide nothing of substance to the case, the law requires strict adherence to the rules of discovery and courtroom procedure. This is to ensure that the rule of law is applied equally and that the rights of the accused are never compromised. When you are facing criminal charges of any type, you deserve to have access to any and all evidence. Attempts by prosecutors or the state to suppress information, no matter how inconsequential it may seem, could possibly violate your rights and jeopardize your future.

Contact an Attorney

If you have been charged with driving under the influence or any other crime, you need an attorney committed to protecting your rights at every step of the criminal justice process. Contact an experienced Will County criminal defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C., to learn about how we can help you.

Sources:

http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/48/4891.asp

http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/Opinions/AppellateCourt/2015/1stDistrict/1133869.pdf

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