The Power of Video

Why do so few police departments in Massachusetts use dash cams?  That was the question the Boston Globe asked in an article two years ago, to which the police have yet to give a good answer.

And that was the question that won a “not guilty” verdict for Attorney Tobin’s client today in Worcester District Court.  This OUI trial, like many others, revolved entirely around the officers’ testimony about how our client performed certain so-called “field sobriety tests.”  What was interesting was that 1) the two officers agreed that she screwed up, but couldn’t agree about how she screwed up, and 2) the booking video showed her looking stone-cold sober.

Attorney Tobin confronted the officers with the fact that they didn’t video tape the “field sobriety tests” that they alleged were the proof of our client’s guilt.  “We didn’t have the capability,” testified the arresting officer.  Attorney Tobin then asked him:

Q: You had your cell phone with you, right?
A: Yes
Q: Your cell phone can record video?
A: Yes
Q: But you didn’t record the field sobriety tests with your phone?
A: That isn’t common practice.

With this testimony, and the officer’s admission that in his 1,000+ OUI cases he gets asked about field sobriety tests all the time, Attorney Tobin was able to persuasively argue to the jury that these officers made a choice not to record her client’s performance on the tests, and that the jury should hold that choice against them in the final determination of credibility — especially in light of other things that she could prove they got wrong.

Congratulations to Attorney Tobin and her client on a well-deserved acquittal!

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