My attorney is asking for information on 'DWI arrest video' retention. Law Enforcement in this area recycles tapes after 90 days. Is this common procedure and/or can you refer her to the proper information? Thanks.
Our officers send their DWI tapes to our office (County Attorney) and after case is disposed we recycle them. If however they do not send us the tape, we have to request it from them and they only save them for 90 days for racial profiling purposes.
If it helps, other places have a 90 day retention policy. Munoz v. State, No. 08-02-00375-CR, 2004 WL 759259 (Tex.App.-El Paso Apr 8, 2004, no pet.) (memo. op.)(discussing 90 day retention policy and Brady claim). A general discussion of the laws concerning videotaping is included in the TDCAA Criminal Laws book at 140.
Even then, when no longer needed for criminal purposes you may wish to retain those that scream 'civil litigation is coming', which includes any where the defendant says he/she was abused or roughly treated. Your civil lawyers will thank you.
Having been the "lucky" recipient of some of those "screamers," I can't say that I'm always thankful, Ann. In all seriousness, though, Ann is correct that thorough evaluation of a case with siginficant civil overtones strongly suggests "red-flagging" tapes in which there is significant physical interaction between officers and suspects.
I grinned at your post; sure, sometimes the tapes sink the police. But more often they show that the police behaved and the defendant is whining about nothing. After all, the police know they are on tape, so they normally behave pretty well. The drunk should know they are on tape, but, gosh, they're drunk....
One of the recurring themes (probably an urban legend, since I've heard it so often) is of women motorists who claim the police officer was inappropriate with them, only to find that the tape shows Ms. Arrested Person to be taking off her blouse or otherwise engaging in less than wonderful behavior.
On balance, the tape normally is better than the allegations, though...
I can say that it is not an urban legend. While I was an officer I was accused of improper conduct by a female violator that I had stopped. She went so far as to file a sworn complaint against me. What happened was that she offered a sexual favor to me in exchange for a warning citation. I guess she got angry when I refused her offer. She made the complaint in the morning, I took the tape to Internal Affairs that afternoon and had a warrant for her arrest that evening. Of course, my chief would not allow me to make the arrest but there was satisfaction in knowing that she went to jail for lying about me. I don't know what would have happened if I did not have that tape to verify my story.
You shouldn't have worried Brent.... Even the Chief wouldn't have believed any Suspect would have been THAT desperate to get off!!!
You might not know the Chief that well, I might have gotten a promotion out of it!!! Good to hear from you Richard. Give me a shout some time.
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