The Fourth Amendment Protects Against Unlawful Search and Seizure
Interviewer: That actually brings up a good question. How hard is it to prove that the officer did or did not have probable cause?
Paul: That is the entire essence of Fourth Amendment search and seizure practice. One of my absolute favorite areas of criminal defense is suppression of evidence, Fourth Amendment issues. It’s a matter of just tracking the officer’s conduct in the case very carefully.
More and More Patrol Cars Are Equipped with Audio and Video Recording but What Happens if the Recording Device Is turned off?
Nowadays, just about every patrol car is equipped with some sort of audio/video recording device. The entire traffic stop will be recorded and the dialogue between the officer and my client will be recorded. So we can really figure out what was done, what was said, what sequence of events and make good decisions about how to proceed with possible suppression issues in the case.
Interviewer: If that recording just maybe happened to be turned off, is that something that works in your client’s favor?
Paul: It can. But more often than not, the factual basis for a successful motion to suppress evidence is found in the audio or video recording of the traffic stop or arrest
Interviewer: Are there times that you come across situations where there is no recording?
Any Critical Omission by Police Can Raise Suspicion in the Mind of the Judge
Paul: When we do see a situation where the arresting officer had audio or video recording capabilities available, but for some reason failed to utilize those tools, that always leaves a really large question mark in the mind of the judge. Particularly if the audio recording device is active throughout the majority of the traffic stop, and then mysteriously turns off moments before the substantive events take place. That will always raise the suspicion of the judge.
A lot of times officers say it was inadvertent or accidental, but I think that can create a line of questioning that may be significant to the court. Certainly, these issues are determined on a case by case basis – we have to figure out how much mileage we can get out of those types of situations.
Call today for free consultation to discuss your case: (913) 322-3265. I represent clients facing serious criminal charges throughout the Kansas City Metro area including the municipalities of Johnson County, Kansas: De Soto, Gardner, Leawood, Lenexa, Merriam, Mission, Olathe, Overland Park, Prairie Village and Shawnee.
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