Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Video Forensics Saves the Day

I don't usually share cases from my day job in this space, but this one hit the news ... so what the heck. Here it goes ...

From Alive Magazine:

"Club Member Saves the Day
With intrepid skill, police work and timing, Police Dept. Forensic Video Analyst Jim Hoerricks, Club Member, saves the reputation of two officers.

The officers were lucky. Very lucky. It hadn’t started out that way. The captain had called them in and told them Internal Affairs was en route. “You’d better get a rep,” she advised. It had all started a few months before. It was a routine traffic stop. No license plates and tinted windows. The stop led to the recovery of a gun. Unfortunately for the driver, he was an ex-con who was allegedly a gang member. No guns allowed. An arrest was made and a hearing in court eventually followed.

The hearing in court was routine, too. The officers were called to the stand and testified to the probable cause of a vehicle being driven on the streets with no plates, then discovery of the gun and the subsequent arrest. Then things started to change. Suddenly, the defense attorney produced a videotape that, he said, would prove the officers had testified falsely. The deputy district attorney objected to this last- minute evidence and demanded to review it. The assignment of this particular deputy district attorney to this case was the first stroke of luck for these officers. She was an aggressive prosecutor and brooked no nonsense from defense attorneys. She was also ex-LAPD. When it came to police work, she had been there and done that. To her, this surprise video stunk to high heaven.

The video was copied and the defense attorney ... had a date with Fox-11 news. His interview was televised that night.

“The cops lied. Clearly,” he told Fox-11 news, as they played a supposedly “enhanced” copy of the video, which clearly showed a license plate on the car. “I have been practicing 42 years, criminal law, and this is the first time in 42 years that I have a videotape that shows the police lied,” the defense attorney told the camera and the nation. And he had more, the reporter stated. [The news] cut back to the defense attorney, who said, “My client denies he had any knowledge of that gun in his car, and we think it could have been planted by the police.” Then the reporter stated that the sus- pect had been so harassed by the LAPD that he was fed up and was going to move his busi- ness elsewhere.

The defense attorney jumped straight from trial by court to trial by media, and the media was more than happy to play. So was the deputy district attorney. It was after-hours, and she began calling all over the City, looking for an expert to examine the video before court resumed the next day. Many would have said it was an impossible task. Difficult maybe, but not impossible when you have dedicated people working for the Department.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Enjoy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jim,

Make that TWO beers for when you finally come to Australia!

Andrew Smith