Texas Appeals Court: Motorists Have No Right To Potentially Exculpatory Dashcam Footage

Monday, August 15th, 2011

This is pretty incredible:

Drivers have no recourse if police say the tape from a dashboard-mounted video camera is not available, according to a ruling Wednesday from the Texas Court of Appeals. Mark Lee Martin wanted to defend himself against drug possession charges filed in the wake of an August 29, 2008 traffic stop, but he was told no video was available.

Travis County Sheriff’s Deputy Darren Jennings claimed that he pulled over Martin that evening because he failed to signal a left-hand turn. Within less than two weeks after the incident, Martin’s attorney formally requested that the department preserve video evidence from the stop. Subpoenas were issued to ensure “all videos and dispatch calls” would be saved. At trial, Jennings was asked why the camera evidence had not been kept.

“Since I didn’t put it in my report it wasn’t preserved because I didn’t believe it had any type of evidential value,” Jennings told the court.

The dashcam is automatically activated when an officer turns on his emergency lights. Department policy states that all video must automatically be saved for thirty days. Jennings could not say whether his machine was operating that night, but he would have noted either at the beginning or end of the shift if the device had not been functional. Jennings stated that the only way to know for sure if the video had been taken would have been if he had preserved the video. Martin argued the police were obviously hiding evidence.

“The officers intentionally destroyed the video and thereby put exculpatory evidence as far as the search is concerned or evidence favorable to the accused out of the reach of the accused,” Martin’s attorney claimed. “We feel that for no other reason the search is invalid and any evidence found as a result of that search should be suppressed.”

The appellate court found no merit in this argument.

“We agree with the state that the record supports a finding by the district court that the police did not act in bad faith,” Justice Bob Pemberton wrote. “The United States Supreme Court has held that ‘unless a criminal defendant can show bad faith on the part of the police, failure to preserve potentially useful evidence does not constitute a denial of due process of law.'”

The court found no evidence of bad faith because the officer testified that he had “no clue” whether there even was a recording made.

Relevant excerpt from my Reason piece “The War on Cameras”:

Last March, Justice Lee Ann Dauphinot of the Second Court of Appeals in Texas complained in a dissent that when defendants accused of driving while intoxicated in Fort Worth challenge the charges in court, dash-camera video of their arrests is often missing or damaged. “At some point,” Dauphinot wrote, “courts must address the repeated failure of officers to use the recording equipment and their repeated inability to remember whether the car they were driving on patrol or to a DWI stop contained the video equipment the City of Fort Worth has been paying for.”

Well I guess they are addressing it, now. They’re giving cops a how-to guide when it comes to destroying dash cam footage that makes them look bad, or that could exonerate a motorist: Just make it look like you’re incompetent, not malicious.

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63 Responses to “Texas Appeals Court: Motorists Have No Right To Potentially Exculpatory Dashcam Footage”

  1. #1 |  Z | 

    Usually, when a party loses in court, they take their ball and go home: rarely are they instructed, step by step, on how to win.

  2. #2 |  rapscallion | 

    “unless a criminal defendant can show bad faith on the part of the police, FAILURE TO PRESERVE POTENTIALLY USEFUL EVIDENCE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE A DENIAL OF DUE PROCESS OF LAW.”

    I’m trying my damndest to wrap my head around that sentence, but I just can’t; it hurts too much.

  3. #3 |  Mike Leatherwood | 

    To be honest, the idea that a cop is incompetent is soooo very easy to believe.

  4. #4 |  Graham Shevlin | 

    What it means, rapscallion, is that the justice system in Texas has just admitted, in a rather unsubtle manner, that due process is a mere optional nicety in their bailiwick.

  5. #5 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    The United States Supreme Court has held that ‘unless a criminal defendant can show bad faith on the part of the police,

    The fox has stated unless a hen can prove exactly how many angels can dance on a pinhead, the hen house will remain open to foxes.

  6. #6 |  Irving Washington | 

    Just FYI, that’s the Third District Court of Appeals. There aren’t too many justices on it that have criminal law experience. If they take their next appeal, it’ll go to the Court of Criminal Appeals, which for a long time was where defendants’ appeals went to be denied. In recent years, though, it seems to have turned a corner, especially on evidentiary issues.

  7. #7 |  Michael Pack | 

    A dash cam can show if a driver is driving recklessly,the only reason someone show be investigated for DUI,unless involved in a accident.It seems cops do not like any video of their work,including bystanders on the own property.They’d rather the courts just take their word.

  8. #8 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “The United States Supreme Court has held that ‘unless a criminal defendant can show bad faith on the part of the police, failure to preserve potentially useful evidence does not constitute a denial of due process of law.’”

    I was caught up in a similar case once. It came down to this:
    if the (exculpatory) tape exists, and they don’t provide it, then you don’t have to show bad faith (Brady), but if it gets destroyed you do.
    So they just destroy it. I think Bryant vs DC Appeals Court finally addressed
    this ridiculous situation. A court actually recognized the fact that
    cops might incinerate inconvenient evidence when it was in their own interest to do so. Imagine a football game where one side could always
    throw the game.

    ***In United States v Bryant, 142 App DC 132, 439 F2d 642 (1971), on remand (DC Dist Col) 331 F Supp 927, affd 145 App DC 259, 448 F2d 1182, the court attempted to reconcile the two situations and found that such a duty existed. Implicit in his analysis was that under Brady the government must at least make “earnest efforts” to preserve evidence it has gathered (Bryant, supra, 439 F2d at 651).****

  9. #9 |  Anon for this comment | 

    I had a bogus reckless driving arrest in Travis County (by Austin Police Department and in Texas reckless driving is very similar to a first-offense DUI) in 2007. I won’t go into all the details, but basically, the officer had decided he was going to arrest me for DUI before he ever got to the car. After finding that I was stone cold sober and had not had a drink in weeks, he decided to run me in for whatever he could, which was reckless driving — an offense that is totally officer’s discretion.

    When my lawyer and I challenged the arrest, we found that the tape from the dash cam was missing. It was not preserved in cases like mine — no reason was given. As a result, I missed out on presenting the evidence that the officer was biased before he ever got to my car, that he was verbally abusive and threatened me several times with physical injury because I was “lying about being drunk”. Overall, it was a very bad scene that the jury never got to see and never got to evaluate the outright lies and fabrications presented in the police report — lies that the tape would have proven.

    In the end, my charges were dismissed and the arrest expunged, so it worked out for me, but it could have easily gone the other way. I was very dismayed to see that the attitude was “we lost the tape, it’s really too bad.”

  10. #10 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    More Bryant:
    “Were Brady and its progeny applicable only when the exact content of non‑disclosed materials was known, the disclosure duty would be an empty promise, easily circumvented by the suppression of evidence by means of destruction rather than mere failure to reveal….”

  11. #11 |  Michael Chaney | 

    It utterly frightens me sometimes that I have far more wisdom (and have had since a young age) than men who are trusted to be judges.

  12. #12 |  Mister DNA | 

    Jesus. The Free State Project is becoming more attractive each and every day.

  13. #13 |  gersan | 

    So the cops in this case are incompetent? Good. You can now start proceedings for removing these cops from duty due to incompetence.

  14. #14 |  Scott Lazarowitz | 

    Another reason why we need to end government monopoly in community policing (and security). Allow open, competitive, free entry into that field that requires accountability. Monopolists are not accountable, and, in this case, the government-monopolists in community policing are allowed to be above the law (commit fraudulent guilt verdicts based on illegal searches, allowed to get away with destruction of evidence). See Hans Hoppe:

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/hoppe/hoppe26.1.html

  15. #15 |  paranoiastrksdp | 

    The state rules in favor of the state. Is anyone surprised?

  16. #16 |  Zeb | 

    Yeah, that’s fucked. There is no reason why every police encounter that leads to an arrest can not be recorded and preserved until charges are dropped or a trial completed. The standard should be that if the cops can’t produce a video, then they should be presumed to be lying if their story differs from the defendants. Give them some incentive to make sure the video equipment is working.

  17. #17 |  David | 

    You can now start proceedings for removing these cops from duty due to incompetence.

    Do what now? You’re speaking English, but the words don’t make sense.

  18. #18 |  JS | 

    I’d have a lot more respect for the state if they’d just dispense with the hypocrisy and send the cops out to stick a gun in my face and say “Stick ‘em up!”

  19. #19 |  John C. Randolph | 

    Seems to me that the lesson here is: ALWAYS make your own video recording of any encounter with cops.

    -jcr

  20. #20 |  BamBam | 

    @9,

    In the end, my charges were dismissed and the arrest expunged, so it worked out for me, but it could have easily gone the other way. I was very dismayed to see that the attitude was “we lost the tape, it’s really too bad.”

    The State happened to you. Something to think about: did it really work out for you? You had to spend time, energy, and money to undo The State’s evil. Were you properly compensated for this, and was the offending officer properly punished? I will guess NO to both, in which case it didn’t work out for you in terms of what is morally right, but it did work out for you in terms of escaping The State’s clutches with only a small amount of damage.

  21. #21 |  JS | 

    BamBam “but it did work out for you in terms of escaping The State’s clutches with only a small amount of damage.”

    Sadly, that’s the best we can hope in the freest country in the world.

  22. #22 |  varmintito | 

    Sadly, the trend in the Supreme Court for at least the past 20 years has been to give the state a pass. Requiring a criminal defendant/civil plaintiff to prove that the government acted in bad faith is, as a practical matter, a grant of immunity in most cases. In regular civil litigation, spoliation of evidence results in default or a spoliation instruction.

    This case looks like a relatively rare scenario where a default would be appropriate. There was a pre-existing statutory duty to preserve evidence for a specific period; before this period expired, there was an explicit demand by opposing counsel to preserve the evidence; and the spoliation apparently occurred almost immediately and without any persuasive explanation (e.g., no fire, flood, act of war, etc. that would have destroyed the evidence despite the state’s efforts to preserve it).

    These circumstances are so extreme that any criminal charges should be dismissed and civil liability should be deemed admitted. The sole remaining disputed issue should be damages.

    In the more common case, where the inference of intentional or negligent destruction is weaker, the jury is told that they may (but are not required to) infer from the unavailability of the evidence that it would have been unfavorable to the party that had custody of it and was subsequently unable to produce it.

  23. #23 |  Law Prof | 

    “The United States Supreme Court has held that ‘unless a criminal defendant can show bad faith on the part of the police, failure to preserve potentially useful evidence does not constitute a denial of due process of law.'”

    The Supreme Court has become just another tittering gaggle of “police groupies.”

  24. #24 |  DoubleU | 

    I saw a youtube video a while back and a police officer was saying how whatever the police record can be easily destroyed. As long as the officer transcribes the recording, then the transcription can be used. This is for any recording including that in an interrogation room.

    It might have come from flexyourrights.com but I think it was another source. I will try and look for it.

  25. #25 |  Jay | 

    DoubleU, that’s from part two of the the “Don’t Talk To The Police” video.

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6014022229458915912

  26. #26 |  The Barney Fife exception: all in good faith | 

    […] H/T: Radley “A link is worth a thousand pageviews” Balko. […]

  27. #27 |  r | 

    looks like we need a rear window cam that activates with flashing red lights

  28. #28 |  croaker | 

    The lesson here is to install your own recording devices in your car.

  29. #29 |  Ed | 

    A major problem is that enforcers of de facto laws that do not in fact apply to the people have changed our form of government. It has been done and is being done through armed enforcers coercing compliance, while judges make unconstitutional decisions (actually nothing more than opinions) against the rights of the people.

    Because they are working together – and may not be cognizant of that fact – it is conspiracy to deprive people of their rights, violating Title 18, Section 241.

    Now, look up Title 18, Section 2331, paragraph 5 for domestic terrorism.

    That, good people, is what we are subjected to, as truth is the best defense and cops/judges/attorneys are preventing it from entering state controlled “chanceries”, which are administrative tribunals, not courts of Law in which the people are the sovereignty.

  30. #30 |  Eddie Craig | 

    Hi Folks,
    I am a co-host on Rule of Law Radio, which you can hear on 90.1 FM if you are in Austin, or, you listen to our internet stream at http://www.ruleoflawradio.com.

    My legal specialty is Texas traffic law and how to fight the tickets in court. I am NOT an attorney (I promised my mother that I would not grow up to be a crook), but, I am an ex-deputy sheriff. I have spent 17 years of my live studying and dissecting these Transportation and Criminal Procedure laws, so, I do know the statutes and the Code of Criminal Procedure on these issues backwards and forwards.

    You ARE being lied to about everything involved in these “traffic tickets”. Please listen to our show. We have archives of past shows available for download, and I highly recommend that you start with the show I did last night (8/15/2011). It goes into great detail about TCCrP Art. 15.17, which dictates precisely what these magistrates are REQUIRED to do, and they NEVER do it, which is grounds for criminal charges against THEM!

    The first rule of legal survival these days is NEVER go out in public without one or more personal recording devices. If a public official comes anywhere near you, turn it on, no matter who they are or what they want. Texas is a “one party only” state, so you DO NOT have to tell ANYONE that they are being recorded. Use these in place of the cops recordings since you are now aware, as you can see by this article, of exactly what they are doing to extend their perceived advantage in court cases.

    I also give a law seminar at Brave New Books in Austin, Texas every Sunday from 2pm-6-pm. First class is free, continued attendance is $20 per person. I can teach you the law and exactly how to fight back, including suing the cop, the prosecutor, and the judge for everything they do.

    God bless us all and arm us with the knowledge and the will to use it to save Texas and our country from these nefarious individuals.

  31. #31 |  eric | 

    Remeber the recent Canton Ohio incident and what that video showed!
    This is a poor court decision!
    If the officer has nothing to hide then the video will only back him up!

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/you-fu-with-me-cop-threatens-concealed-carry-gun-owner-during-traffic-stop/

  32. #32 |  Thebes | 

    Vhen you live in zee Police State, zee Guberment can do anyzhing it vishes und you vill OBEY, Taxpayer!

  33. #33 |  matt | 

    Pasco County Florida prosecutors and cops do this all the time. I caught law enforcement and the hospital using medical alcohol and then stating it was drinking alcohol. They with held pictures and fabricated crash reports, and have fake witnesses. policeabuse.weebly.com READ carefully. they are using medical alcohol to act like its drinking alcohol so you cannot discharge your medical bills even in bankruptcy due to a dui charge.

  34. #34 |  August | 

    Thank gawd for groups like Anonymous and their heroic efforts to expose the DIRTY GOVERNMENTS!

  35. #35 |  Fab Fred | 

    Hmmmm…to prove a cop acted in “bad” faith? Actually, it is much more difficult to prove a cop acted in GOOD faith…if it were possible.

  36. #36 |  Phil Durt | 

    Judicial branch courts possess neither in-personam nor subject matter jurisdiction over alleged violations of the vehicle code. Jurisdiction is a two sided coin and a court must possess both in-personam as well as subject matter jurisdiction in order to exercise jurisdiction. In order to understand why judicial branch courts are not in possession of either side of the jurisdictional coin we must examine the source from which each is derived.

    Subject matter jurisdiction derives from the legislature.

    If the legislature deigns to pass legislation regarding a given subject, the judicial branch courts are automatically imbued with jurisdiction to enforce the legislation unless the legislature directs otherwise. In-personam jurisdiction derives from due process. Substantive due process is found in the fourth article in amendment to the constitution which states ” no warrant shall issue but upon probable cause supported by oath or affirmation” Procedural due process was promulgated in furtherance of substantive due process and guarantees substantive due process if followed faithfully. There are only four instruments which confer in-personam jurisdiction to the court over a specific individual, the warrant, the summons, the indictment and the civil summons.

    On the criminal side:the warrant,the summons, and the indictment

    all satisfy the substantive requirement of a finding of probable cause supported by an oath, (complaint). In most states the traffic ticket qualifies as the oath, as it is signed by the complaining LEO (law enforcement officer), but where is the probable cause hearing and subsequent finding of probable cause? Many people refer to a traffic ticket as a summons, but does it meet the procedural requirements for a summons? Criminal rules of procedure require that a summons be signed by the issuing magistrate, but the only signatures on your ticket are yours and the LEO. Likewise, a warrant must be signed by the issuing magistrate and an indictment must be read in open court by the foreman of the grand jury in the presence of the prosecutor. Obviously that did not happen.

    So what if the ticket is styled as a civil matter? Does it meet the procedural requirements for a civil summons? A civil summons must be signed by the clerk of court. No matter which way you turn that ticket, you’re not going to find the signature of the clerk, so it cannot be a civil summons.

    This all begs the question, what is this traffic ticket? If you look above your signature you’ll see a promise to appear, and that it all the ticket is, a promise to appear.

    Typically, what happens is this. You take your ticket to the court and the clerk at the window asks you “how do you plead?” If you plead not guilty you have implicitly recognized the jurisdiction of the court over your person and waived your right to the procedural due process necessary to confer in-personam jurisdiction to the court over your person. Pretty tricky, eh-what?

    So how do you appear without waiving your rights?

    You must appear specially and not generally for the sole purpose of challenging the jurisdiction of the court. You can file a motion to dismiss for want of in-personam jurisdiction, as a motion qualifies as an appearance. You cannot appear generally and you may not traverse within the court.

    To traverse within the court is to ask the court for ANYTHING. If you appear generally, if you defend on the merits or traverse, you have implicitly recognized the jurisdiction of the court over you and waived due process.

    The rules of traffic court are brief. The rule governing entry of plea does not require an entry of plea. It reads you “may enter a plea of responsible” and in the following part reads you “may enter a plea of not responsible”. The term “may” is discretionary. The term “shall” is mandatory. A brief survey of the rules reveals that there is no provision for the court to enter a plea on your behalf should you refuse to do so. This rule exists in the criminal rules but not in the traffic rules and this fact is most revealing. If you are being charged under the criminal rules of procedure, you are appearing in court on the basis of a warrant, summons or indictment and in-personam jurisdiction has been conferred upon the court in accordance with substantive and procedural due process. With jurisdiction secured, the court is at liberty to enter a plea on your behalf should you refuse to do so. In traffic, the court has not secured jurisdiction and must depend on you to waive your substantive and procedural rights, thus, does not possess the ability to enter a plea on your behalf should you refuse to do so.

  37. #37 |  Guest | 

    It sure would be interesting to get Eddie Craig’s thoughts here on Phil Durt’s last post…

  38. #38 |  Texas Appeals Court: Motorists Have No Right To Potentially Exculpatory Dashcam Footage | The Agitator | 

    […] Texas Appeals Court: Motorists Have No Right To Potentially Exculpatory Dashcam Footage | The Agitat… This entry was posted in World News. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  39. #39 |  James | 

    This is exactly why the cops go bug nuts when someone is filming them – because they can’t destroy the evidence.

    Take money out of an ATM, you’re on camera. Drive down a rod, your on camera and sometimes even tracked by easy pass electronic toll cards. Drive through a red light, you’re on a camera. Walk into a convenience store of any kind of store, you’re on camera. Walk into the lobby of a large building, you’re on camera. Walk down the street near any large building, bank of other institution, I was recently in London at the Euston Train Station, I scanned around and there had to be at least a dozen cameras that I could easily spot looking around the main concourse. Probably more cameras than there are in a prison yard.

    As a country we are on cameras every day. The courts have consistency ruled that in public you have no expectation of a right to privacy. Personally I think they are wrong on that but this is not the space to argue that point. The point is, the courts have said repeatedly you have no right to privacy in a public place.

    Citizens must look to their own defenses. That means record every transaction with the police. If they’re on the up and up, you can discard the tape. If they lie, perjure themselves by giving false testimony or falsifying official government documents by writing a false report, then you have them. If the court says it is illegal to record police officers, the proper reply is: I did not record police officers – I recorded un-indicted felons in the commission of a crime. Then file charges against the bastards for false arrest, attempted murder (putting you in jail could lead to your murder) criminal conspiracy (if there was another cop on the scene then they conspired and that in itself is a felony) take the fight to them.

    Cops are terrified of cameras because it shows them for the lying dogs they are. Cameras are the most powerful non-lethal weapons we as citizens have. Use it. If you see something, video something. While a cop may bludgeon a single videographer, he can’t arrest a dozen or more people filming him from all angles. Citizens, we are under a state of siege. The cops are assaulting you and taking away your rights every day. Use the weapon they are terrified of – film them. And remember what they always told you: If you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear.

    Also go to the ACLU website and watch their 45 minutes of video on how to survive a police encounter.

    Be safe.

  40. #40 |  CJ | 

    I wonder if the reverse situation would be useful: Manage to video the encounter yourself and then on the day of the trial, just realize that, “Oh, crap, wait a minute. Your Honor, I have new evidence I totally forgot about.”

  41. #41 |  A Friend | 

    I started doing this some 15 years ago. Cameras and audio recorders both body, auto, house and business. Nothing moved or made a sound which was not recorded. And do not think for a minute the information was not used to control my town on every level.
    There is plenty of older(cheap) equipment which will work fine. Second hand shops are a good place to find it.
    Also I suggest taking a US Constitutional Law as well as State and Local law course at a Jr. or State college. All the information is also on the net.
    If you care about your LIFE and FREEDOM you will be prepared. If you do not you can expect a free vacation at one of the governments recently constructed pleasure camps.
    Remember you are the one responsible for your body,mind and life so do not blame anyone (government included) if you let them f…ck you around.
    You have the POWER, WISDOM AND LOVE endowed by the CREATOR so use it.

    I personally have beat the State of Texas on matters of importance simply by presently a complete(that means paragraph and page#) A-Z ‘brief’ to the County or District attorney; I never needed to stand before a judge. But today as we all know our Judges simply do not care what the law says. I have left Texas and America permanently because of this reason.

    I do not know if any of you remember but there was a time when, we the people, told the KING we were not going to take anymore of his ‘s…it’ and picked up our guns and did something about it.
    There are even ‘bigger and better’ ways today to accomplish the same results. Thanks.

  42. #42 |  Banderman | 

    Wow, now the police can make the decision of what is and what is not ‘evidence’ and the court will support said decision? We’ve been had.

  43. #43 |  Law Abiding | 

    First off I must point out, There are many cops out there who do respect your rights and won’t abuse them, These guys are usally vet’s from Nam or Gulf war 1, and they do need to be respected, cause they are on our side, to these brain dead azzholes who know nothing about law or the rights of the people. who commit thuggery, and would rather stomp your head into the pavement then abide by the law (Constitution, Bill of Rights) ect. I see why you don’t want the cameras rolling, so no one will see you violate every law you are supposed to protect. You guys make the real cops look as bad. shame on you. Just keep it up Guys, because one day you’re gonna force the worm to turn on you! and it will, also film at eleven

  44. #44 |  BobtheGrape | 

    Let’s see now, destroying evidence is not acting in bad faith or not using the expensive photo recording equipment is not acting in bad faith?? Let us see if we extrapolate this out a bit, if a cop shoots someone fatally and there is no dashcam because the cop “forgot” to check to see if the video equipment was working or he “forgot” to put in his report that they need to hold the video then the cop gets a bye on the murder charges. Am I crazy or just stupid??? Or are we now living in a police state where the law enforcement folks just run rampant???

  45. #45 |  Freedom Lost | 

    IN Denton Texas I was rear ended by the prosecuting attourney for another county, his case was thrown out due to his claim his rights were violated because their video equpment had not been installed yet, so I guess Judges can pick and choose when the law applies, of course it is never for the people, just the “Good Ol Boys” I now hate police and refuse to assist them in any situation, they only work for the “Elite” whomever that might be. Amerika is now a prison state of zionist slaves!
    By the way this is not the only storie I could tell you, just the one that woke me up!

  46. #46 |  theterrible1 | 

    Tapes? VHS or Beta? Are we stuck in 1990? For the most part, dash-cams are hooked up to a hard drive. A HARD DRIVE THAT CAN STORE 6 MONTHS OF AUDIO & VIDEO! Cops ARE NOT supposed to have access to the drive (it’s supposed to be locked-up and you need a key to access it) and the drive is often removable, which can only be done by superior officers or IAD. It’s funny how a cop’s word is held as gospel truth, but often a dash-cam video will contridict the officer and expose him to possible purjury charges. Which goes to show cops don’t care about you, me or our rights, they use their power to make-up for a screwed-up childhood. They don’t need to be carrying a gun and a badge, most need help that only a shrink can give them.

  47. #47 |  aubreyfarmer | 

    We will either hang together or hang separately. The appearance of law must be maintained while it is being broken. Prepare for the coming police state. When a society becomes as degenerate and immoral as ours, the police and the courts are a reflection of that society. It will get much worse. When injustice becomes law, rebellion becomes duty. The above word are not my own.

  48. #48 |  TheHolyCrow | 

    Sounds like we are not in Mayberry anymore
    with the friendly sheriff. Barney Fife has gone
    ballistic from over use of steroids. It is time to
    Have these “peace officers” pee in the cup once
    A week or so. After all, if they have nothing to
    hide, they have nothing to fear. In the interest
    of public safety this would seem imperative. That
    Goes for the judges too. And make them take a
    Test on Constitutional Law every six months
    Or so. And have them make yearly disclosures
    of their family assets, published in newspapers
    for all to see.

  49. #49 |  Uncle Sam Needs You To Win This Country Back! | 

    You have no Rights and police always look at you as a criminal….at any age, gender, and nationality except Hispanic and Chinese!

    Law Enforcement? The Laws are suppressive.
    So, the correct title of this gang is, Suppression Enforcement.

    Small correction that has always been needed.

  50. #50 |  JohnZ | 

    I’m so damn glad I don’t live in Texass.

  51. #51 |  JC | 

    You guys have to understand THERE IS NO LAW that requires the preservation of evidence PERIOD….. If you start to study the law, you will find convictions on sketch evidence and then appeals where the evidence was lost, improperly kept, or thrown out. This is a critical lapse in our DUE PROCESS rights and it needs to be fixed. Frankly its evidence tampering and fraud at a minimum. If you are on a jury and you hear this nonsense, do the right thing and acquit the defendant. If enough people do this, they will fix the law.

  52. #52 |  Adam Evenson | 

    Well, folks, you are learning that judges do not exist to see that citizens are accorded due process of law and other various constitutional guarantees, but courts exist for the sole purpose of preserving the status quo, whatever that may be. Courts have always leaned toward the direction that police are more important to government than the citizen (or We, the People.) Welcome to the real world, folks, it’s all about government versus citizen, in which the government sees itself as “We, the People” and sees the citizen as the enemy. Always has, even when Abe Lincoln was walking around.

  53. #53 |  brady | 

    we are quickly coming to the end of the road. it is time for every single human out there to sacrifice some of our necessity money to purchase and INSTALL multiple port audio/video cameras THAT UPLOAD DIRECTLY TO A HOME COMPUTER. That way, once they find the cameras and try to destroy the evidence, it is too late, it is already captured. MAYBE ONE DAY we will have some kind of network app available by subscription that when any subscriber first sees the punk police hit their lights, the subscriber turns on the app and the GPS goes out to all other nearby subscribers who will know where to immediately go and start filiming as witnesses. bastards like these judges need to be stripped from OUR offices. WE THE PEOPLE OWN those offices, they only occupy them term to term, AT OUR WILL. Study QUO WARRANTO. Study how to file CRIMINAL CHARGES on cops, prosecutors and even judges. I know. They presently, only rarely prosecute each other, but if MADE TO DO SO, by enough people DEMANDING IT!

  54. #54 |  Rob | 

    The man that invents the motorist’s Cop Cam is going to be fucking rich.

  55. #55 |  Guest | 

    Quoted from “theterrible1″ above:

    “…dash-cams are hooked up to a hard drive. A HARD DRIVE THAT CAN STORE 6 MONTHS OF AUDIO & VIDEO! Cops ARE NOT supposed to have access to the drive (it’s supposed to be locked-up and you need a key to access it) and the drive is often removable, which can only be done by superior officers or IAD.”

    So, to hold up in court, a citizen’s dash-cam would have to be subject to similar restrictions, I’m guessing…

  56. #56 |  robertsgt40 | 

    Hmmm. Cops watching us. Who’s watching the cops? More cops? Sounds like a tag team match to me.

  57. #57 |  Mike S | 

    As Mr. Craig said: “Texas is a “one party only” state, so you DO NOT have to tell ANYONE that they are being recorded.”

    In any other state I’d advise recording anyway, and have your lawyer claim you didn’t know it was turned on, and thus “acted in good faith”.

    If “good faith” works for the cops…

  58. #58 |  Militant Libertarian » Texas Appeals Court: Motorists Have No Right To Potentially Exculpatory Dashcam Footage | 

    […] The Agitator […]

  59. #59 |  On Evidence Preservation and The Right To Record Police » righttorecord.org | 

    […] couple weeks ago, Radley Balko posted about a Texas Appellate Court opinion. The gist of the opinion is that police did not violate a […]

  60. #60 |  Disintelligentsia | 

    There are several reasons why judges favor cops: 1. They often times come through the office of the district attorney, who have a chummy relationship with cops; 2. if they rule too often against cops then the DA will see to it that the judge gets disqualified from hearing further criminal cases (in California the DA would just file a CCP 170.6 motion each time he gets assigned a criminal case (it’s called “papering” a judge)); 3. they can recite the fiction that cops are disinterested third parties who don’t have an interest in testilying to get a conviction while the defendant is an interested party with an motive to not tell the truth – this of course ignores the fact that police do abuse their authority, try to do “street justice”, don’t want black marks on their records, get rewarded for their arrest and conviction records, etc. If anything, EVERY time an officer testifies there should be an eye to their motives for lying. The last reason is that judges often have a chummy relationship with the cops because they see the defendant once or maybe twice but the officer will be in their courtroom on a regular basis.

  61. #61 |  Texas DUI Lawyer | 

    Texas DUI Lawyer…

    […]Texas Appeals Court: Motorists Have No Right To Potentially Exculpatory Dashcam Footage | The Agitator[…]…

  62. #62 |  TXSAINT | 

    To destroy any evidence is a criminal offense period I think its something like (Tampering with Governmental Record) Im not an attorney so I could be wrong.. My point is Texas is an unconstitutional state with laws in place allowing the Police to bully joe citizen and steal his lunch money…

    Criminals are more like our state representetives these days. The do not care about the law, no one will tell them what to do….. Until they get caught then the criminals start blaming society for there stupidity and the state reps. get the Allmighty God Attorney to issue an opinion stating no crime has been broken. The they rewrite and/or make up new laws to further protect those in office..

  63. #63 |  Eliut Del Rio | 

    Today (5/31/12) I was driving between the towns of Presidio and Valentine in Texas when a state trooper stopped me for doing 85 in a 70 MPH zone. The thing was that my car was in cruise control at 70. He gave the ticket and refused to show me the radar readings. The worst part of this is that two hours and 33 minutes later another state trooper stopped me for doing 91 in a 75 zone and again I was in cruise control. He got all upset because I demanded to see the radar readings and he refused too. The funniest thing? I served my country twice in Iraq as a Military Policeman and returned home to face an abusive, is my word against yours police state!

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