Firearm violation with video evidence.

How can a person be charged with robbery with a firearm when there is a video clearly showing he was not in possession of the firearm?  

Asked on June 14, 2009 under Criminal Law, Florida


M.S., Member, Connecticut Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

For the purposed of this question, it is important that you make a distinction with respect to the differences between being arrested for a crime and being convicted of a crime.  In order to arrest a suspect for a crime, all the police need is "probable cause" to suggest that the suspect committed the crime.  Therefore, for example, if a witness provides a sworn statement that he/she saw the suspect with a firearm during the robbery, that might constitute probable cause even if a video tape exists that could be used to negate that statement due to the fact that the police might surmise that the video tape does not accurately reflect the entire robbery for any one of a number of factors, such as duration or angle.  On the other hand, in order to convict, the state needs to demonstrate "guilt beyond reasonable doubt."  This is a considerably higher standard than the "probable cause" necessary to arrest.  Therefore, if a videotape that demonstrates that the defendant never had a firearm exists, it is very likely that the videotape would negate guilt beyond a reasonable doubt unless there is a very strong evidence to demonstrate why the defendant actually had a firearm despite the tape's suggestion otherwise.

Nevertheless, videotape evidence can be highly influential, and I suggest that this person consult with and/or retain a criminal defense attorney in the interest of using this tape, as well as any other exculpatory evidence, in order to formulate the best defense possible.

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