On January 11, our client was in the Loudoun County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court on charges of Domestic Assault and Battery. (“Domestic Assault” is, in a nutshell, the crime of fighting between family or household members).
We had two surprises. First, it turned out that the prosecutor had once done business with our client. While the prosecutor didn’t initially recall the business dealing, our client did. The prosecutor had to drop off the case.
The second surprise was the existence of a police body camera video. The prosecutor had been unaware of the video until the day of trial. Naturally, the case was continued so that we could consider this new evidence.
Video is an increasing factor in criminal law. Only a couple years ago, videos would be rare. The most common use of videos had been in shoplifting cases. Stores have used surveillance video for a long time. Now, many police wear body cameras, have dash cams in their cars, and civilians have surveillance cameras all over. As criminal defense attorneys, we welcome this development. A great equalizer, these videos can better help establish certain facts than human memory, which can be subject to unconscious biases.