How admissible is video surveillance in a prosecution?

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How admissible is video surveillance in a prosecution?

I was recently questioned about a credit card theft where the suspect bought alcohol with a stolen credit card. He was filmed on video surveillance inside the liquor store using the stolen card. Supposedly this person looks a lot like me, but isn’t me. I denied any knowledge of the theft when questioned. How admissible is this video footage if I were to be charged with this fraud crime on the basis of me looking like this individual?

Asked on August 26, 2010 under Criminal Law, Kansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, it would be admissible, so long as it's relevance and bona fides can be shown (e.g. it was from that store, at that time). The fact that it's admissible merely means that it, along with other evidence, would be submitted to the trier of fact (e.g. the jury) and would be considered in coming to a verdict. You--or more accurately, your attorney, since you should definitely retain one if charged--could of course try to attack the evidence on several bases, including that there is reason to think it was tampered with, that it is too grainy to be certain of what you're seeing, that the person in the evidence has certain particular differences from yourself, etc. Some attacks may go to an attempt to exclude, or keep out, the evidence entirely, but that generally requires showing there is something suspect or unreliable out it; other attacks are just refuting it in some way, like refuting eyewitness testimony.


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