How hard can it be to present video evidence in court? This statement does not refer to the difficulty of playing the video and conducting a presentation. But instead, using video as evidence to build a case – not just build, but win a case. That is a whole other ballgame.
As with the increasing use of security cameras by businesses and homeowners, patrol-car dashboard and body-worn cameras by law enforcement, and smartphones and tablet cameras by the general public, it is becoming unusual to see a court case that does not include video evidence.
Legal attorneys must understand the context of the incident in the video evidence so that the judge and jury can reach the correct verdict. This means which segment to clip, which to redact, and how to present video evidence in court with relevant facts and a complete chain of custody, ensuring evidence integrity. However, not every video clip is admissible in court.
The Rules of Evidence
Rules of evidence are the rules by which a court determines what evidence is admissible at trial. In the U.S, federal courts follow the Federal Rules of Evidence; We can summarize all of them into 3 basic categories.
Relevant Video Evidence
Just because an incident has been captured does not imply an open and shut case.
It is up to the attorneys to filter out irrelevant segments that do not accurately represent the case because the context and timing of video evidence may be the deciding factor during the trial.
Reliable Video Evidence
.Evidence needs to be lawfully obtained and from a reliable source. It must be authentic and not manipulated, tampered or falsified in any way.
Some videos come from poorly managed systems such as general stores and suburbs. How these recordings are stored and shared raises concerns about the originality and credibility of the video evidence presented in court.
In such scenarios, witnesses are required to testify if the contents of the footage purport what it claims to show.
Video Evidence Without any Witnesses
In a situation where no witness is present to testify against the video evidence in court, how to check its authenticity? By checking the capturing environment, you can deduce when, where, and even why the footage was recorded.
Under the Silent Witness theory, If the video evidence captured comes from a properly managed system like those in banks, large shopping centers, and places where security is tight, it may stand alone as substantive evidence without accompanying a witness testimony.
Learn more about Silent Witness Theory.
How to Present Video Evidence in Court
Now that you are aware of the criteria, here are some tips to use video evidence in court to make a winning case.
Let us get an in-depth look at each of these 5 tips for a better understanding:
1. Maintain an Unbroken Chain of Custody
Aside from checking how the video evidence has been tampered with or running through deep-fake technology, it is imperative also to present an unmodifiable record of all the actions in the court of law.
Learn more about the types of activities tracked by the chain of custody.
One of law enforcement's greatest challenges is the digital evidence collection process.
Nowadays, the prevalence of video editing software makes it dangerously simple to manipulate videos. Not having a monitoring system to track each change on a file means multiple ways to twist and complicate the truth around a crime scene.
Therefore, the judge and jury in court may question who possessed such video evidence and how it was managed since the incident was captured.
2. Use the Original Recording in Court
While analyzing and enhancing file segments, law enforcement users work on a duplicate version of the file. To present in court, attorneys prepare rigorously to anticipate any claims against how and where video evidence was created.
Sometimes, submitting an original file is a safer bet as some courts may not accept enhancements and clippings in video evidence.
3. Have Security Controls in Place
Having video evidence admissibility also requires having proper security protocols in place.
Without it, the evidence can be easily tampered with, reuploaded with a different version, changed by unauthorized personnel such as malicious insiders, or exposed to external cyberattacks and more.
Features like end-to-end encryption (at rest & transit), permissions given to users and groups, SSO integration, and advance sharing controls (password protection, link expiry & limited viewing) will ensure evidence retained its true nature till the case closure.
Learn more on Evidence security capabilities.
4. Generate Video Transcriptions
Transcription not only meets compliance requirements but ensures accessibility when presenting an interview room recording. Not everyone in court will be able to hear the video perfectly.
To counter that, the video should be transcribed. If audiovisual evidence is in a foreign language, translation can help to reduce or eliminate ambiguity.
5. Redact any Sensitive Information
By hiding all Personally identifiable information (PII) such as faces, bodies and license plates through redaction, law enforcement agencies can protect the privacy of witnesses and innocent bystanders as well as prevent lawsuits from violating requirements as per GDPR, FOIA, CCPA and other region-specific data privacy laws.
How VIDIZMO DEMS Helps Prosecutors To Present Video Evidence To Court
Ingest Video Evidence In A Single DEMS Platform
When it comes to court hearings, every single piece of evidence matters, several times, the evidence holds enough weightage to turn around a case entirely.
Therefore, it is necessary to appropriate digital evidence disclosure by ingesting it from all sources.
Evidence can be sourced from various elements like CCTVs, mobile phone recordings from bystanders, Dash-cam footage, and Body-cams recordings from police officers.
VIDIZMO Digital Evidence Management System (DEMS) is a hardware-agnostic platform that can ingest evidence from various elements, store it, and allows centralized access to the data for the users that have the necessary permissions to access it.
Learn more on Digital Evidence Disclosure to understand better why we need to extract evidence from all sources.
Securely Share Video Evidence With DEMS
How would you bring video evidence to the court during a trial? The days of carrying it in CDs and pen drives have ended. Now, digital evidence is shared digitally.
But wait! Sharing digital evidence through online channels isn’t safe. We need a platform such as VIDIZMO DEMS that incorporates various mechanisms to keep the process of sharing evidence with prosecutors, jury, and other law enforcers safe.
Learn how VIDIZMO DEMS provides you with Secure Online File Sharing.
Authenticate Video Evidence with DEMS
You may wonder how VIDIZMO DEMS presents itself to solve the video evidence authenticity issue in court.
By helping law enforcement and legal attorneys fulfill the court’s prerequisites for video evidence admissibility by maintaining audit logs and chain of custody reports, running tamper detection to check for unauthorized changes, and automating most of the back-office tasks using Artificial Intelligence for legal purposes. With robust security controls, your files will meet the compliance set forth by GDPR, CCPA, FedRAMP, and others.
Read more about Data Privacy Laws.
You can even hide PII present in custom objects like symbols, tattoos, logos etc., and mute or bleep spoken words.
VIDIZMO DEMS Integration with Other Systems
VIDIZMO Dems helps you maximize efficiency and performance by integrating with an ever-growing number of IT Systems to improve adaptability and break down digital evidence silos.
Integrate with any SSO provider of your choice, such as directory services, identity access management (IAM) services and third-party login.
Records Management System
Integrate with your existing RMS to ingest, store, recover, retrieve, log, and view information, records, or files pertaining to law enforcement operations.
Integrate with your agency’s CAD to facilitate incident response and communication in the field and to search calls, texts and radio recordings linked to a crime.
Content Management System
Integrate with CMS to simplify and streamline management, organization, sharing, and searchability of digital evidence.
Configure multiple apps to provision users and groups for effective management.
Interview Room Recording Systems
Integrate interview room recording systems with VIDIZMO to ingest crucial captured interviews that preserve truth.
What’s more? The spoken words in transcriptions can be labeled and searchable to find clues and solve cases faster.
Learn more about VIDIZMO DEMS Integration. But that's just the tip of the iceberg! We offer much more for your convenience.
Learn more about the features of VIDIZMO DEMS by having hands-on experience.
Summing It Up
With video evidence estimated to be involved in approximately 80 percent of crimes, it has become even more challenging to ingest data into such Digital Evidence systems unspoiled and unaltered. Hence it is vital that all video evidence submitted and presented in a court of law is authentic, as it plays a crucial role in court proceedings.
To learn more about the VIDIZMO DEMS or if you have any queries, feel free to get in touch with us or schedule a meeting with our sales representatives.
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