Destroyed Surveillance Footage, Court Approves

Author: IPVM Team, Published on Jan 02, 2014

All is not always lost if surveillance footage from a crime is unavailable for the trial. If enough people have seen the video before it goes missing then their testimony is admissible in lieu of having the actual tape in court ... at least that is what an appellate judge affirmed this week in Washington State. In this note, we examine the case and whether or not it should have been thrown out.

Background

Two men were charge and convicted of a 2009 burglary of a Toys R Us store. The state’s case against the two men centered around at surveillance video that purported to show the men committing the crime.

An employee was suspicious of one man when he came into the store on Nov 1, 2009 and told two other employees to keep an eye on him. The two were known for retail theft schemes. He watched him pace around in the electronics section then meet up with the other man who was pushing a cart with a box in it toward the exit. A second employee called for them to stop as they walked past the registers, but they continued past the cashiers and outside to a waiting Jaguar. The employee says he called 911 as they loaded the box into the trunk. The box was so heavy it took two of them to lift, and he saw the car’s suspension shift. The store says the box contained $5,800 worth of Nintendo DS systems.

The responding officer saw the car on his way to the store and pulled them over and detained them seven minutes after the initial 911 call. Another officer brought an employee to the scene to identify them, which he did. The Jaguar was impounded, and police got a warrant to search it. They found the box that was in the surveillance video, but it was empty.

What The Footage May Have Showed

Back at the store, the employee who first noticed the men was reviewing surveillance footage. He says several cameras showed that one man open a locked storeroom door, fill up and empty box with Nintendo video game systems, and set the box outside the door. Ballou came back with a cart, and they loaded the box and pushed it to the exit.

The Tape Disappears

When they Lynwood Police Department asked for a copy of the tape, a Toys R Us employee tried to make a copy, but “the machine did not work properly” and “the disk drive on the video recorder was stuck closed, so he could not burn a copy to disk.” A police officer reviewed the video. A week later an integrator came to look at the recorder and said the whole thing needed to be replaced, so they replaced the system, disposing of the video.

The store employee never offered for police to take the whole recorder and police never asked for it or got a court order to take it, the appeal says. There was no additional evidence like fingerprints or pry marks on the door.

After learning the video had ultimately been destroyed when the system was replaced, one filed a motion to dismiss the trial suggesting he was being denied due process. The motion was not granted. A judge said: “The fact that the video is not available the Court determines is a matter of weight, not admissibility, and the court will allow it.”

The Trial

The trial relied on recaps of the video from the responding officer and three employees who watched the video. One employee said he watched the video more than 30 times.

The defendants argued that a jury should have been able to watch the video to make a decision for themselves what it showed. For all anyone knows, they could have just stolen an empty box, which was going to get thrown in the trash anyway, the defense said. They also argued that the only thing he is guilty of based on actual evidence is accessing a locked storeroom.

A jury convicted him anyway, and he was sentenced to 51 months in prison. He appealed the case.

The Appeal

In December 2012, one man filed an appeal arguing that there was not enough evidence to convict him of anything other than unlawfully entering the store’s stockroom. The appeal further says the court was wrong to let witnesses testify they had seen him in the store security video.

“The trial court erred in failing to exclude the witnesses’ testimony about what they say on a videotape that had been destroyed well before trial and have never been available for the defendant or his counsel to review,” the appeal reads. It says there is no evidence he entered the room with the intent to commit a crime.

It also argues this violated the defendants’ right to due process saying “Fundamental fairness requires that the government preserve and disclose to the defense favorable evidence that is material to guilt or punishment ... In this case, the State allowed the loss or destruction of the only evidence that Pegs had committed a burglary.”

The appeal was denied. An appellate judge ruled that the 14th Amendment was not violated because the state was not responsible for the destruction of the video and the destruction was no “improperly motivated.”

The appellate judge further said that because the tape was destroyed, and it wasn’t the state’s fault, that the testimony, describing the contents of the tape, was admissible.

Additionally, “Those two men were the only African American customers in the store at that time and were wearing the same clothes that [employees saw them] wearing while they were in the store, when leaving the store, and at the show-up,” the ruling says.

Should this Case Have Been Thrown Out?

This case relied obviously relied heavily on evidence that was not there: surveillance video. There was no physical evidence and the Nintendos were never recovered. Should this case have been thrown out?

Comments (20)

***, *** ***** ******** *** ******* ********** ********, ******* **** weight *** ***** ********** ** *****.

*******

*** **** ** *** *** ********** ** "**********." ********** ******** usually ******* ** ********* **** * ****** ********* **********. **** a ****** *** ******* * ***** ** * ***** ** YouTube ****** * ******* **** *****-********** *********?

**** ***** ********* **** * ***** *** *** ******** ********* ****** * ***** ***** *** ********* ***** *** ** produced?

*** ***** ***** **** ********* ***** ** **********.

* ***** **** ********* ***** ** **** ************ ******* *** guard *** ******** ******** ********* ** ** ******** ** *********** an **********. *** ***** ***'* **** ******** ******* ***** *** fact.

***, * **** ** *** * ****** ** * ******* vehicle *** ** *********** *******.

*** ****** *************: *** ******** ***** "****** ** ******".

****, *** **** **** *****?

** **, * ***** *** ****** ** ***** **** ***** and ********** ** **** *********. ** *** ********** ** *** *** ***** ****.

*** ********* ***** ****** *** ********** **** ***** ** ******** and **** *********. ***** ** ******* **** **** ** *** don't **** ** ******** **** **** *** **** ****** ******* as ** **'* *********, *********** ** ******* ******** ******** ** it. ****, **'* *** ************* ****** ** ****** * ********** after ******** ******* ****** * ******** ********* *** ** **** case ******** ********* ****** *** ***** *** *** ******* ** what **** ******** ** **** ***** *** *** ************* ******* of **** *** ******** **** ******* **** ************, *** *******, the ***, ***.

** **** ***** *** *** ********** ** ******** *** ******** staffs. *** *********** ******* ***** **** **** **** *** ** was ********* **** *** *** **** *** ******** ** ** might **** *** ******* ********* ** **. ******....******...******.

****, ***** *** **** **** ****** **** *** ** *** preserved ****** **** **** *** ******** ****, ** *** ***********?

**** * ** ********* * ********* ****, * ************ **** the ****** **** *** **** **** ** **** *** ** back ** ********* **** *********** *** ***** ** ****. **** being ****, * ** **** *** ********* *** * *** weeks ****** ********** *** **** ***** **** ** ****, *** I ***** ** ****** ** *** ******* *** ** **** sure **** **** **** **** ****.

** *** ***** * ** ** *** *****?

**** **** *****,"*** ******* *** *** **** ********” *** “*** **** ***** on *** ***** ******** *** ***** ******".****** **** * **** ** **** ** **. ** "**** drive", ** ***** ** **** *** ********** **** *** ********* to * ** ********* *****. ******* * **** *** **** in *** ******** ** **** ** **** ** *** ****, but **** *** ****** ********* **** * ** ******** *** capable ** ***** *********, ** **** **** *** ***** ** back ** ** * ***** *****. ** **** *******, *** footage ***** **** **** ****** *** ** **** ****** ****** it, *** ****** **** ** *** **** **** ** ******** off ** **.

**** * ***'* ********** ** **** ** **** ** *** case, *** *** ****** **** ********* *** ********** ** ************ video ******? *.*., *** ***** *** *******, *** ***** *** missing ******** *******, ***.

** **** *************, *******'* **** **** ***** ***** *** **** **** ** destroyed ** ** *** *** ********* ****?

****, ***'** ***** ** **** **** ** * ******* *** consider *** * ****** * "***** ***********" ** * ******* moments ****** ******** **** "* *** ** ******* ***** **** clerk, *** * **** ** *** **** * ****'* **** him". *** ***'* *********** ******* ********* ** *** ********* ***** that ***** *********** *** ********* ** ***** *** *** *** died ***** ****** *** *********. **'* *** ***** ****** ********* from *** ******* ***** **** ** ******* ** ***, *** the ***** **** **** ****** **** ***** ****** *** **** inclined ** *** *** *** *********'* ********* ** **********.

**** ****** ******** *** ************ ***** ** *** ** ***** but ****'* **** ** *********** *** * ***** *****. ********** of *** **'** ***** ***** *.*., ****** *** **** ********** in **** ********, ********* **** ******* ********* ** * ****** act ** **** ** ********* ****** ********. *** *****(*) **** has *** **** ** **** ** ***. ****'* *** ** be *** **** ****!

****, ******. ** **** ******* ** *** **** ******** ** weight *** **** **** ******* ***** ** ********. ** ***'* say ** ************** ********** ********* ***** ************, ** ***** ********** **** ** would***** **** ****** **** ************ **** ***** ** ********, ****** and ********** ** *****. ** **, **'* *** **** ** a ******** ********** ** ****** * ******* ******* ** *****.

***** *************** ** ********* ** *** ******* **** *** ***** *** strict ************ *** **** **** ********* *** ** ****.

***** ********** ***** ** ********, * ***** *********** ** ********** ** *** ********* ** the ********* *** *********:

  1. ************** ** *** *********
  2. *** *********’* ********* ** ***** ******* ** * ******** *********** for ********, ** ** * ***** ******;
  3. *** *********’* ********* *** **** ***** ***** *** ****** **** his ***** *** ********; ***
  4. The *********’* ********* **** ****** ** *** ***** ** ************* ** **** ** ******** ** **

**** '** ******* **** *** *****' ******** ** *** ** instance ***** * ***** *********** *** ** **** - ****** it *** *** ***** ****** *** *********** ********** *** - *** *** ******* *** ********* *** ********.

*** ******* **** ** *** ***** *********** **** ***** **:

"***********, *** ********* **** ****** ** *** ************* ** ***cause ** *** *********'* *** *****. A counterexample is the dying declaration of Clifton Chambers in 1988, in which Chambers confessed that ten years earlier, he had helped his son bury a man named Russell Bean, whom the son had killed by accident. The statement was sufficient cause to justify a ********** * ****** ** *** ***'* ********; ****'* **** *** indeed *****, *** ***** *** ** ******** ******** ** * crime ***** *** *****, *** ***** ******** *** *** *** victim, *** ***** *********** *** *** ********** ** ********, *** the *** *** ***** ******* ** *****."

-----------------

I'm *** * ********* * ********** ** * ******* *** ******* **** *****, *** * tend ** ***** **** ***********#*******'* **** ***** **** ** **** thread (**** *** ******):

******* *** ***** ******** **** *** ***** *********, ******** **** people *** ****** *** **********(******* ** *** ***** ** ** ****** **** ** *** office) ****** ** *** ********* ****** ** ******* ** ********** testimony - **** *** *********** ********* *** ********** ********. (*.*. "I *** **** ****** - **** ** ********.")

*******, * ***** **** ********* **** ****** ************** *** ********* ***** ****** ********** ** ********************. (*.*. "* *** * ***** ******* **** ****** ***** the ****, *** *** ***** ** ****** ******.")

*****, ** ** *** **** *** **** ********* **** ******** who **** ********* ******* **** **********, ***** *** ** ******* ** *** actual **** ***** *** ** *****?

*******, * ***** **** ********* **** ****** ************** *** ********* ***** ****** ********** ** ********************. (*.*. "* *** * ***** ******* **** ****** ***** the ****, *** *** ***** ** ****** ******.")

***** ** ******* **** * ******** ** ** *** ******* of **** ****, *** ** ****'*. ****'* *********** ** **** in ********, ** ** **** **** *** ******* ******** **** cases ** **** **** *** *******, **** ***'* **** * case, ********** ** *** **** ****** *** **, **** * narcotics ******* ****. ** **** ** ** **'* *** ***** to *** * **** ** ******* **** *****'* ***** *******.

****, * ** ******** **** ******* **** ** ***** ***** for *** ****** ** **** ****** **** **** ******* **** penned * ******* **** **** **/*** ****, **** '****'?

** ********* **** **** **** *******, ******* *** ****** **** glee************* ***** ** ** *** **** ** ***** ********* ******* who ******** ** **** **** * ******* **** **** *******************, *** *** **** '******* ****' *****'* *****.

I'm *** * ******, *** **** ******** ******* ** ** ** ** ********-** hearsay - ** ** * ******* *********: '**** *** **** me '*'".

***,

* **** **** ***** **** ** ** *** **** *** years ** *** ********* *****. *** ************* *** ***** **** *** ***** **** ** *** **/*** drive ** ******. *** *** **** *****. ** **************** **** ** -** **** ******'**** * ******* *******. ******* *** **** * ** ***** did *** **** **** **** **** *****. ** ***** *** unit ** ** ******* **** *** **** ******* ** *** evidence ** **.

** ** *** ********** *** ****** ***'* ************** ** ** to ****** *** ********? ** ****** **** **** ** ******** a **** ** ***** *** **** *** * *** **** or ***** **** ******** **. **** ** ** ***********, ***** unit **** ** ******** ** **** ***** **** ***** ** have ************ *** *** **********, ** ****** *** **** ****** to **. ** **** ******** *** **** ****** *** ** days ** *** ***** ***** *** ** ******** ***** *********** on *** ***** ****** ** ***** *** *****. ** ** not ***** **** ** ** *** **********. ** ** *** his ******** ** ** ****.

** ** *** ********** *** ****** ***'* ************** ** ** to ****** *** ********? ** ****** **** **** ** ******** a **** ** ***** *** **** *** * *** **** or ***** **** ******** **. **** ** ** ***********, ***** unit **** ** ******** ** **** ***** **** ***** ** have ************ *** *** **********, ** ****** *** **** ****** to **. ** **** ******** *** **** ****** *** ** days ** *** ***** ***** *** ** ******** ***** *********** on *** ***** ****** ** ***** *** *****. ** ** not ***** **** ** ** *** **********. ** ** *** his ******** ** ** ****.

***** *** *** * ***** **********, ******* ** **** ***** * **** ** ** **********, the *** ***** ******* **** * **** ** **** ** do **** *** **** ***** ** * **** ** **** to ****. * ******* ** ******* * ****** *** *****, but ***** ** *** ****** ******? ****** ** ** ** job ** ** ********** ** ****** **** *** ***** ***** it **** ***** ***** *********, ** ****** ** ** *** end ***** ************** ** ****** **** *** *** ***** **** after ******** *********. ** ****, *** ***** *** ** ***** with ** ******, *** * ***** *'* ******* ** **** from ***** ***********/*** ***** ** **** ***** ******** *** ** this *******.

** **** ********** ****, ** * *** *** ********** *** I **** ***** *** ******** ******* **** **** ******, * would **** **** **** ****** ** ** **** ** ****** they *** ** (******** ******* *** ******** ***** **** **** the ******* ********). *** ** * ****** ******, ******* *** integrator, *** ******, *** *** *** **** ** **** ********** case, ** ***************** **** * ****.

** **** ******** ******* * *** **** ****** ** **** discussion **** *** ******** ***** ***** ********* ******** *** *** custody/retention ** *********' **'* ***** * *** ** *** ******* is ** ********* **********. ** ** ********** ********* * ******'* equipment, *** ** ****** ** **** ******** *** *** ***** on ** ******. **** **** ******* ** *** ****** **** ** ***** prudent ** **** * **** ** ***** ** ************ ****** the ****/** ** *** *****. ** ***** **** ****** ********* entanglements, *****'* **?

*********** ****... ** *** ** ** **** * ******** **** called '****** ** *******'. ** ******** ** ********* ****** ** is ******* **** * ******** ** ***** ** ** **** actions **** ***** ** ***** ** ****** **. ** ** could **** **** *******, *** ** ****'*, **** * ****** of ******* *** ** ********. ** * ***** ***** **** all *********** ******* *** **** ***** *** *** *********** *** down ** ** ********** ***** **** *** **** *** ** allowed ** ********.

**** ****:

****://**.************.***/*****/*************/*********

* **** ******* ***** **....

******* ****** ***** *** ******* *** *****. **** **** **** contemparaneous ***** ** *** **** *** ******** **** *** ***** shows. *** ** *** ***** ***** *** ******* *** ** export *** *****, *** ******* ********* **** *** ***** ****** it *** * * *** *********. * ******* ** **** for ******** ***** ********. ** ****** ****** ***** *** *** footage *** ******* ***********. ** *** *** * ****, ** was *****! ****** ** *******? **

**** ***** ****** ****** ** ** *** * ****, *** we ******** *** ******* ** *** *, *** *** *** attend ***** *** *, ***** ** *** ***********. ****** ** process......Maybe! ***** *** * ***** ** ******!

Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts unique testing and research funded by member's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.

Related Reports

Search More Important Than Live Monitoring - Statistics on Oct 18, 2017
Search is overall more important than live monitoring to integrators, according to new IPVM statistics.  The key themes found in integrator...
Exporting Video Surveillance Tutorial on Oct 05, 2017
Exporting video surveillance is important when incidents or crimes occur. However, there are multiple ways to export video which have their pros...
Delayed Egress Access Control Tutorial on Oct 04, 2017
Is it ever legal to lock people into a building? The answer is: Yes... under specific situations. With so much of access control driven by life...
ASIS Show 2017 Final Report on Sep 27, 2017
ASIS is in Dallas for 2017 and this is our final show report (compare to our 2016 ASIS show report). When walking in, one is greeted with Dahua's...
Genetec Launches Community Connect Examined on Sep 14, 2017
Genetec has done best in large-scale, enterprise systems and relatively worse in smaller systems such as SMB. Now, Genetec is launching...
Neurala Deep Learning Platform Profile on Aug 31, 2017
Find lost children? If Neurala has its way with its recent partnership with Motorola, that is the aim as shown in their video below: Neurala has...
Axis and Arecont Legal Conflict Over Multi-Imager Cameras on Aug 17, 2017
Arecont threatened Axis. Axis has responded by moving to invalidate an Arecont patent. It is an important contest. Multi-imagers are Arecont's...
Stolen Video NVR / DVR Statistics on Aug 15, 2017
"But what happens if someone steals my recorder?" Anyone who has done more than a handful of jobs has probably heard this question several times....
IP Camera Specification / RFP Guide 2017 on Aug 14, 2017
RFPs are hard. Do them 'right' and it takes a lot of knowledge and time. Do them 'wrong' and you can be (a) unwittingly locked into a specific...
FLIR Security Business Struggling on Aug 02, 2017
FLIR's security division is an ambitious mix of FLIR's core thermal business plus multiple acquisitions, including of retail / consumer offering...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Cisco Falling - Favorite Network Switches 2017 on Oct 20, 2017
1 major manufacturer fell and 1 outsider manufacturer gained as integrator favorites for network switches from more than 140 votes / explanations...
Uniview Recorder Backdoor Examined on Oct 20, 2017
A Chinese research group has identified a vulnerability in Uniview recorders that allows backdoor access in a method similar to the Dahua...
Hikvision Access Control Tested on Oct 19, 2017
Hikvision aggressive pricing and marketing combined with generally reliable hardware and free software has made them a major player in video...
Verkada, Silicon Valley VSaaS Startup, Targets Enterprise on Oct 19, 2017
Verkada says they are building an enterprise-class VSaaS offering, calling it "The new platform for video security". This is a departure from the...
Exacq Unbreaks Avigilon Integration on Oct 18, 2017
For nearly 4 years, Exacq had broken and effectively blocked use with Avigilon cameras, as IPVM reported in January 2014. Now, Exacq has...
Search More Important Than Live Monitoring - Statistics on Oct 18, 2017
Search is overall more important than live monitoring to integrators, according to new IPVM statistics.  The key themes found in integrator...
Axis 'Sold Out' P3707-PVE Multi-Imager Tested on Oct 18, 2017
Axis faced significant product shortages over the summer. Perhaps the most notorious and significantly sold out model was the Axis P3707-PE 8MP...
Dahua Removes Auto Rebooting on Oct 17, 2017
For years, Dahua has automatically programmed its IP cameras to reboot weekly, a highly atypical and questionable practice. Following IPVM...
Deep Learning Tutorial For Video Surveillance on Oct 17, 2017
Deep learning is a growing buzzword within physical security and video surveillance. But what is 'deep learning'? In this tutorial, we explain...
Multipoint Lock Access Control Tutorial on Oct 17, 2017
Doors are notoriously weak at stopping entry, and money can be misspent on wrong locks that leave doors quite vulnerable. While closed and locked...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact