Video evidence preservation is one of my first focuses after being hired to represent a criminal defendant. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I know the importance of obtaining the appropriate discovery order, issuing and delivering the proper subpoenas, and getting out timely demands to prosecutors and police to preserve video, film, photographic and audio evidence.
A picture is worth a thousand words, and a video can be worth more words than that. Numerous times video evidence has enabled me, as a Fairfax criminal lawyer, to obtain an acquittal where a conviction otherwise was likely. So much can happen in even a few seconds of activity that even the most meticulously honest, observant, keen and intelligent observer can miss and mis-state what happened, let alone what happens when the observer is less scrupulous, less observant, less focused, less intelligent, and let alone the observer’s inability to see and hear every single essential detail of the events.
This being a criminal defense blog rather than a political blog, I have repeatedly spoken out on social media rather than on my blog about my belief that Donald Trump is a grave danger to our civil liberties (for instance through his judicial appointments), a lightning rod for bigots , and a feeder into mob mentality (for instance his repeated claims about “fake news” “enemies of the people“), and a major impediment to diplomacy (not only because he is undiplomatic, but because he well earns international ridicule, when ridicule does not serve diplomacy).
One’s political views, though, do not need to cloud recognizing the wrongheadedness of the White House’s suspending CNN’s Jim Acosta’s White House press pass. More to the point of today’s blog entry, video of Acosta’s behavior during this week’s press conference was vital in countering White House press secretary Sarah Sanders’s mischaracterization that Acosta’s moving away the intern’s arm represented intolerable mistreatment of a woman rather than what we really see in the video, which is a reporter nonviolently not yielding over the microphone, regardless of the gender or race of the White House intern.
My devotion to civil liberties and to my clients, and my love of fighting on the side of the angels heavily provide me the steam for battling in criminal court. This same devotion to civil liberties feeds my outrage that Trump has barred CNN reporter Jim Acosta for such a mischaracterization of his actions, wakes me up when Trump today hinted that other reporters are not safe from Acosta’s same fate (see video minute 18:15), and makes me thank the reporters from other news organizations who have rallied to Acosta’s side. Absent video evidence of Acosta’s actual actions with this White House intern trying to retrieve his microphone, fewer Americans would have joined me in this outrage.
Praised be the inventors of video technology, which technology must be used widely by the police.
Fairfax criminal lawyer Jonathan L. Katz advocates widespread use of video technology by police with their suspects. To discuss your case with Jon Katz, please call his staff at 703-383-1100 to schedule a confidential consultation.