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Making Sure Your Photos and Video Can Be Used as Evidence

It is really not all that difficult to get photographic evidence or video evidence introduced into a case.

There is an age- old "7-Prong Test" for this type of evidence to be admitted:

1)   It must be proved that the camera was capable of taking photos/video.  In other words Was the camera was in good operating condition without malfunctions?

2)   The person taking the video/photos must be shown to be competent in the use and operation of the camera.

3)   The authenticity and correctness of the recording must be documented. You must be able to document  that tampering with the photos/video has not occurred.

4)   You also must be able to show that the video or photographs have not had any additions, deletions or changes made. Note:  You must be able to testify that the video is a true and complete recording, free of editing or tampering of any kind.  If a video is edited (like many need to be to have a time-stamp), the original unedited copy must be available for review by the court.  I also often have to convert the files to another format, as the court may not be able to view the original format.

5)   The court must be shown the manner of presentation.

6)   The recordings must show proper identification of the subjects depicted in the video or photographs.  Note:   The investigator must have proper facial views of the subject documented so that the identity of the subjects can be assessed.  Either that or other distinctive markings, or tattoos must be clearly visable.

7)   You need to be able to show that the actions was elicited voluntarily without inducement.  You cannot cause a situation that would create circumstances that would make the subject act differently than they might without the circumstances presented to them.  For example:  you cannot let the air out of a tire to cause the subject to have to change the tire.  This comes down to entrapment.

If you can meet the 7-prong test, you can get the evidence admitted.  Questions about video or photos on an SD card and whether they are on the orginal SD card are not really relevant.  SD cards are merely temporary storage devices for the evidence themselves.

Whatever you do - stay safe!

Finally Not Embarrassed to Show ID

My new license(s) have finally come in after renewal, and they actually look like a state issued license.  I am happy to retire my previous state issued license(s) that looks like something one may find in a Cracker-Jacks box.

Hooray for the changes that have finally come in Texas.

(Note: they still call them "pocket cards" in trying to keep us from appearing too professional)

Whatever you do - stay safe!