By: Jason Korner
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The Importance of Preserving Defense Evidence
St. Louis Criminal Defense Attorney Jason Korner
Many of the blogs on this website answer commonly asked questions that are often asked by clients. This post serves as more of a public service announcement. Sometimes there is a gap in time between an incident or an allegation and when a person consults with an attorney. Sometimes the gap in time is only a day or two, but other times it can be weeks or months. All of this is lost time when it comes to gathering and preserving potential pieces of key evidence for the defense. Some items of potential evidence are time sensitive such as video, social media posts, text messages, voicemails, or scratches and bruises. Often once these things are gone, they are gone for good, which makes it that much more important to preserve them when there is an opportunity to do so. In many situations, even an experienced lawyer may not know what pieces of evidence may be important later in the case so it is important to preserve as much as possible.
Preserving Video – There is a common misconception that if there are cameras at a location then video will be available from those cameras. Many times the video from the cameras in question is only retained upon a request timely request by a lawyer or law enforcement. Most cameras will record over the captured video every twelve or twenty-four hours. This creates a situation where video is often present when it may hurt you, because law enforcement knows to make the timely request for video they believe will be helpful to a prosecution.
There is a second type of video that is present more often to help a person accused in a criminal case: cell phone video. Video recorded on cell phones is becoming much more commonplace in courtrooms across America. The rise of quality video capabilities on cell phones has lead to a vast amount of video evidence that is now available for the first time in history. People may disagree on the interpretation of a video, but videos do not lie.
Social Media – With social media posts evidence can be given, and evidence can be taken away if it is not captured fast enough. A lot of people involved in an incident, whether the accuser, the accused, or witnesses, will take to social media and post information or opinions about the incident or the people involved. This information can be a gold mine for an experienced trial lawyer, but if screenshots are not quickly taken of the posts then there is a strong chance someone is going to tell the poster to take down the information prior to the start of a case or trial.
Pictures of Scratches or Bruises – Many assault cases, whether it’s a bar fight or a domestic incident, include fighting from both sides. In other situations, a woman may make the claim a man assaulted her, and often the police will believe the woman in such a situation, but the man will be the only one with scratches and bruises on him. Those bruises and scratches will fade quickly, so it is important to take good, accurate, pictures in good lighting to preserve those marks for future use during a potential case. It is also important that no one assumes they will not be charged with a crime in these instances, because by the time a charging decision is made the marks will no longer be present. When there is an incident when the police are involved, always take pictures of bruises, scratches, or anything else of interest.
Written Statement of the Incident – Memories of the incident may be clear as day right now to the accused or any witnesses, but a potential hearing or trial on the case will be months, if not more than a year, away. The accused an any defense witnesses should sit down and carefully write out what they saw and heard happen before, during, and after the incident and any subsequent police investigation. As memories fade over time, these written statements will help each of the people in the case refresh their recollection of what happened at the time of the incident. This is the exact reason police write reports about an incidents, and the police should not be the only ones getting the benefit of writing out their memory of the events.
Criminal Defense Attorney Jason Korner – If you or a loved one has been accused of a crime, then contact criminal defense attorney Jason Korner today to find out what options and defenses are available to you. Jason Korner specializes in criminal defense, and has successfully defended countless people facing all kinds of allegations. Contact Mr. Korner today at (314) 409-2659 or click here to fill out a contact form and Mr. Korner’s office will be in touch with you to answer your questions and find out more information about the allegations.