Dash cam video and audio surveillance has become a part of everyday life, in the world of law enforcement. And many law enforcement agencies are more willing than ever to hand over video that shows exactly what happened during an arrest or a traffic stop.
Brad Smith often defends clients who feel they have been wrongfully accused or arrested by law enforcement. Smith said, "The more evidence you provide for your case, you would think the more likely you would be for conviction." In the past few months, Smith has requested video and audio dash cam from various agencies in our area, including CMPD, Matthews PD, Pineville PD and more.
Smith said those agencies are more than willing to fork over the video evidence. But he says one state agency has been bucking requests for a number of attorneys in this area. Smith said "The Highway Patrol is objecting to the Subpoena."
Fox 46 got their hands on one of the letters of objection the NC Highway Patrol has been sending out over the past few weeks in response to a subpoena for their video and audio recordings. Smith said "If an officer wants to come to court and say 'see, this is what happened, look at the video' isn't that a good thing for our justice system?" The objection letter denies the subpoena request claiming state law does not require them to hand over video recordings as evidence for a misdemeanor.
But Smith says when it is subpoenaed its a whole other story. "Discovery law does say they don't need to voluntarily hand over video recordings but there is no law that says you can't subpoena the video."
The objection letter forces attorneys to file a motion taking the objection to court, where a judge will decide whether the video should be handed over. Its a process smith says is completely unnecessary and unjust.