Preserving Video Evidence in a DUI case in the District of Columbia

Mark Rollins DUI

 Video in DUI cases in DC

The Prosecutors in the District of Columbia have a duty to preserve the video evidence especially if material to the defense in a DUI case.

One way to challenge a DUI case in the District of Columbia is to make sure the government produces all evidence relevant to the case.  In the District of Columbia when someone is charged with a criminal offense or specifically a DUI in DC – the prosecutors must follow certain rules in maintaining evidence against the accused.   Now unfortunately, body cams and Video cams are not used widely in the District of Columbia for DUI.    However, Video that occurs after arrest at the precinct and in lockup may be discoverable under the rules.  In In the fall of 2012, MPD implemented a new digital video recording system, known as Net Vu/Dedicated Micros. It took over six weeks to install the system, and installation was completed on October 22, 2012.   The purpose of the video surveillance is
for the protection of both MPD officers and persons in custody at the station.   So you ask yourself why is this important? Well,  because it may be favorable to the defense to show that the defendant was not stumbling and mumbling or incoherent as the police officer  indicated in his/her notes.

Discovery Rule 16

Super. Ct. Crim. R. 16(a)(1)(C) provides that: Upon request of the defendant the prosecutor shall permit the defendant to inspect and copy or photograph books, papers, documents, photographs, tangible objects,
buildings or places, or copies or portions thereof, which are within the possession, custody or control of the government, and which are material to the preparation of the defendant’s defense, or are intended for use by the government as evidence in chief at the trial, or were obtained from and belong to the defendant.

Law of the Land – United States Supreme Court says so Too

The Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment requires the prosecution to disclose to criminal defendants material evidence that is favorable to the accused. Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 87 (1963).

Lawyer Must Make Preservation of Evidence as Early as Possible

The Prosecutors have contended even in this day of abundance digital storage that videos are only kept for 30 days unless they are told to preserve the evidence.    So unless the defense makes a timely a request it is very possible that the evidence could be lost and no sanctions will be imposed because government not put on notice.

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