Man Caught Committing a Crime on Camera — His Own Camera!

leifertlaw February 7, 2015 Courts

Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer

As our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know, video evidence of an individual appearing to commit a crime is not necessarily indisputable evidence that they actually did commit that certain crime.

That said, it certainly doesn’t bode well for the defense team when the defendant is on camera doing what the prosecution says they did.

Being caught on camera can be damning, which makes it all the more interesting that this man was charged with lewd and lascivious behavior against a child after law enforcement officers lawfully gained access to his home security camera and therein found apparent video of him committing the alleged crime.

The charges, which may grow to include one of indecent exposure, emanate from the accusation that the man was masturbating in the direction of his female neighbor and the woman’s young child.

What is at the center of this story is the issue of evidence, specifically how it can be obtained. Video “evidence,” as we outlined above, is not always what it seems. What looks to be one thing might turn out to be something else; moreover, footage only focuses on a fixed area at a time, ignoring whatever other circumstances might be influencing the situation. Still, video evidence tends to play well with members of the jury, which is why it is important to keep it out of the courtroom.

So, how can a legal team keep evidence out of a courtroom? As our experienced criminal defense lawyers know, evidence obtained without a warrant or throughout other non-legal means can be deemed inadmissible and, if they are so done, such evidence, no matter how important to the prosecution’s case, cannot be used and presented to a jury.

As an example, let’s say that the woman who saw her neighbor masturbating called the police and told them what was going on, and the police came over and walked into the man’s house. Then, once inside the house, they find security footage and view the video without the man’s permission. If that was the case, the man’s legal team would have argued that the video evidence obtained by the police officers was inadmissible because the police officers didn’t have a warrant and they didn’t have some other legal right to view the footage. Without the video footage, it’s the opinion of one against another, and it’s hard to build a case on merely that.

However, if in fact the defendant allowed police officers to view the security footage, then such evidence is admissible and can be used in court. (Again, it’s important that the court confirm that the defendant actually gave the officers permission to view the footage and that he wasn’t bullied into showing them the footage or something like that.)

If you have any questions about this or any other criminal defense issue, or if you have been arrested for or charged with a crime in Palm Beach, Broward or Miami-Dade County, please contact our criminal defense lawyers by calling 1-888-5-DEFEND (1-888-533-3363). We look forward to assisting you.

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