Indiana Supreme Court Declares An Officer's Testimony Is More Reliable Than Video Evidence

from the apparently,-LISTENING-is-believing dept

Seeing how often official reports by law enforcement are contradicted by video recordings, you'd think judges would have become a bit more skeptical about the supposed "superiority" of officers' recall powers. But that's apparently not the case, at least not in Indiana, where the state's Supreme Court has ruled that officer memory trumps video recordings.

Videotape evidence can be overruled by the testimony and after-the-fact interpretation of a police officer, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled last week. In a 6 to 1 decision, justices overruled the state Court of Appeals which reviewed dashcam footage of Joanna S. Robinson driving her Chrysler PT Cruiser at around 1am on October 15, 2011 in Elkhart County and found no evidence of a crime.
In the case being discussed, the officer following Robinson's car observed it veering over the fog line twice, which gave him the reasonable suspicion he needed to pull her over. Once pulled over, Robinson blew a .09 BAC (.01 over the legal limit) and volunteered to the officer that she was also in possession of a small amount of marijuana. During her trial, she attempted to have the evidence suppressed on the basis that the officer did not have the reasonable suspicion needed to pull her over.

The Supreme Court reviewed the dashboard cam recording, concluding that while it may have not showed exactly what the officer claimed (or indeed, any solid evidence that Robinson's driving was impaired), it was clearly inferior to the officer's observational skills and experience.
Deputy Claeys, as he drove down County Road 4 on that October night, was observing Robinson’s vehicle through the lens of his experience and expertise. And when Deputy Claeys testified at the suppression hearing, the trial judge heard his testimony—along with the other witness testimony and evidence, including the video—through the lens of his experience and expertise. Ultimately, that experience and expertise led the trial judge to weigh Deputy Claeys’s testimony more heavily than the video evidence, and we decline Robinson’s invitation to substitute our own judgment for that of the trial court and rebalance the scales in her favor.
This conclusion was reached despite Claeys' "superior" observational skills observing things that didn't actually happen.
Deputy Claeys testified “both passenger side tires were over the fog line” and “completely off the roadway” “twice.”
As the single dissenting opinion notes, the previous court found Claeys' recall of the events suspect.
The trial court summarized the evidence presented, observing that “the officer in this case has testified that defendant drove off the roadway on two occasions.” The court further acknowledged that “[i]t is quite possible that the officer’s actual visual observation of the defendant’s vehicle was superior to the video camera in his car.” But the court recognized that the video did not reflect that the vehicle “actually left the roadway” but only that it “veer[ed] on two occasions onto the white fog line.”
Despite this disparity, the trial court still felt that "veering onto the fog line" was enough reasonable suspicion (for a "well-trained officer") to justify a stop. Judge Rucker points out how ridiculous this assumption is.
The Court of Appeals reviewed numerous cases from other jurisdictions as well as prior Indiana precedent, all of which support the proposition that mere “brief contact with the fog line or swerving within a lane”—without more—is ordinarily insufficient to establish reasonable suspicion of impaired driving [...] I agree and would reiterate the observation that “if failure to follow a perfect vector down the highway or keeping one’s eyes on the road were sufficient reasons to suspect a person of driving while impaired, a substantial portion of the public would be subject each day to an invasion of their privacy.”
Despite the appeals court's conclusions and the deputy's faulty recall, the Indiana Supreme Court agreed with the trial court's finding.
The trial court found, as a matter of fact, that to the extent Deputy Claeys’s testimony conflicted with the video, the former was more reliable than the latter.
While it's certainly true that video itself can be open to the interpretation of its viewers (as is noted in the majority opinion), it's hardly as subjective as a single officer's portrayal of events. What is often depicted as superior instinct and training may actually be nothing more than self-delusion or post facto justification for rights violations. This sets a precedent for Indiana that suggests exculpatory video evidence will be given less weight than the "expert" testimony of law enforcement officers.


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  1.  
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    Michael, Apr 10th, 2014 @ 7:26am

    Just in case someone needed another reason to not go to Indiana.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2014 @ 7:35am

    And the police wonder why the public does not trust them any more. We live in a police state.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2014 @ 7:35am

    Indiana's grip on reality has always been slippery

    See "value of Pi", for example.

     

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    Baron von Robber, Apr 10th, 2014 @ 7:35am

    Oh goodie.

    Reality < Cop's memory = insanity

     

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    David, Apr 10th, 2014 @ 7:40am

    Just wow.

    Your honor, I distinctly remember the suspect hitting me rather than the other way round as the dashcams show.

    He should serve time for battery once he is out of the hospital.

    Indiana -- the Hoosier State.

     

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    Feldie47 (profile), Apr 10th, 2014 @ 7:46am

    Surprised? Don't be. Isn't Indiana the state that at one point (1930's) thought about passing a law making pi = 3? Instead of 'easy as pie' they were looking for 'pi as easy'. Luckily someone explained the absurd ramifications of denying mathematical reality. I guess the lesson didn't stick. Oh well.

     

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    Trevor, Apr 10th, 2014 @ 7:48am

    Um

    Cop: Your honor, I did not shot that man 6 times in the back. He was running towards me with a knife.

    Judge: Let's look at the video.

    Video: Cop shots man 6 times in the back.

    Judge: Well, your experience as an officer makes me believe he was *about* to *run towards you* in a *backwards manner* with a knife in close proximity.

    narf.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Apr 10th, 2014 @ 7:59am

    Re:

    Yes, it is. Bill 246, introduced in 1897. The full title of the bill was:

    "A Bill for an act introducing a new mathematical truth and offered as a contribution to education to be used only by the State of Indiana free of cost by paying any royalties whatever on the same, provided it is accepted and adopted by the official action of the Legislature of 1897"


    I love this bill because it contains so many hilarities just in the title (there's even more in the bill itself and the debate around the bill).

    First is the notion that mathematical truths are determined by legislation. Also, the notion that using the "truth" would be royalty-free in Indiana, despite the fact that mathematical laws have never been subject to IP protection (and are, in fact, explicitly excluded from IP protection), rendering that clause as legally bizarre as the bill is mathematically bizarre.

    This bill nearly passed, and only failed at the last minute because Indiana was receiving so much ridicule about it from the rest of the nation.

     

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    Scott, Apr 10th, 2014 @ 8:02am

    Hmmmm....

    I am sure that the deputy could make a mistake and think that the car swerved over the line when it was merely on the line. If you've ever refereed any sport where on or over the line is crucial, you know how difficult that judgment can be. I am also sure the video camera would record the incident exactly, and by stop-framing replay you could determine exactly where the tires were.

    But, I don't think the excerpt of the document that states "Ultimately, that experience and expertise led the trial judge to weigh Deputy Claeys’s testimony more heavily than the video evidence" is meant to imply that the deputy saw correctly and the camera did not. All it is saying is that the video is just one piece of evidence reflecting one element of a whole host of inputs, conditions, and events that the deputy had at his disposal and interpreted based on his experience and expertise.

    It turns out that Deputy Claeys' experience and expertise were absolutely correct -- the woman was DUI and who knows what else that was illegal.

    The point here is that Claeys made a judgment call based on his expertise and experience to investigate suspicious behavior. I also don't think that the dissenting judge would know better than an experienced police officer about what constitutes "reasonable suspicion" for pulling someone over on the Indiana by-ways at 1 AM. I doubt Judge Rucker has any experience as a police office, but that is an assumption.

    In any case, whether the car was over the line or on the line, the woman was swerving in her lane in a suspicious manner and may have been exhibiting other suspicious behavior we know nothing about.

    I think it's a good thing that Deputy Chaeys didn't first pull over to review the camera footage and say, "Well, she didn't actually CROSS the line as I thought, guess I'll let her go. Don't matter, she got away while I was reviewing this video anyway and I have no idea where she is now." I really don't see a dangerous precedent being set by this case. Seems to me the question isn't the evidence used for conviction (there was plenty more for that), it's about whether the deputy was justified in pulling her over based on what he saw.

    It looks to me like Deputy Claeys ought to be commended for getting a drunk driver (and possibly pot-head) off the road before she killed somebody. I don't understand why he'd be blasted for doing his job well. Looks to me like the case affirms his expertise and experience in traffic law enforcement.

     

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    Just Another Anonymous Troll, Apr 10th, 2014 @ 8:05am

    Hypnotize cops for immunity to law!

    Oh, so a cop's memory trumps irrefutable video evidence? Time to buy that hypnosis starter kit I've been looking at!
    (Cop pulls me over because I am driving backwards with a machine gun taped to my hood)
    Cop: What the $@&? are you doing?
    Me: You are getting veeeeerrrryyy sleeeeeeeppyyy...
    Cop: snore
    Me: When I snap my fingers, you will completely forget that I am driving backwards with a machine gun taped to my hood, and you will insist that I am a good and trustworthy citizen.
    Cop: ok u r good citizen.
    Me: Sweet! Ima go rob a bank, but remember, I'm a good citizen and couldn't have done it.
    Cop: zzz ok zzz donutzzz
    Repeat for infinity immunity to laws and prosecution.

     

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    zip, Apr 10th, 2014 @ 8:10am

    It's everywhere: court rules trump 'obvious' scientific proof

    It's not just Indiana, it's just about everywhere in the US: the sworn testimony of a witness technically carries more weight than any "technological" evidence (including videos).

    I know it seems very counter-intuitive, but courts operate according to these rigid procedural rules -- which may be (and often are) at complete odds with common sense.

    It was the same situation when another technology, DNA testing, came up against old cases. Logically, the science of DNA impossibility should have overturned convictions automatically, but it was an uphill battle to get anything done once a person was convicted and all appeals lost. At that point, facts --and justice-- meant absolutely nothing because the case was closed with no legal remedies available. Legal procedures had to be followed, regardless. Even if it meant that *provably* innocent people rot in prison.

     

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    Rekrul, Apr 10th, 2014 @ 8:13am

    You know, we could save a lot of time and money by just passing a law that says that cops are always right and can do whatever they want. I mean, that's pretty much the reality in this country anyway, the only difference is that we waste a lot of time and money just to have the courts rule this way in each case.

     

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    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2014 @ 8:15am

    Self Immolation

    Did the Indiana Supreme court just invalidate itself, and the system over which it presides? After all, if the officers word refutes all other evidence, why would we need courts?

     

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    Trevor, Apr 10th, 2014 @ 8:18am

    Re: Hmmmm....

    Ends do not justify the means.

    "Well he was right, she was DUI." is what is wrong with this, because it retroactively makes it OK for police to forego the "reasonable suspicion" requirement to pull people over.

    What if you get pulled over under BS pretexts, and the Cop finds someone else's drugs/gun/whatever in your car? Does the fact that they found something make it OK that they didn't have a reason to pull you over?

    That's kind of why warrants are needed. Cops can't* make up a reason to come into your house, find something, and then use what they found as justification for their actions. *shouldn't.

    Also, the Cop said that she "went off the road" on two different occasions, meaning part of her vehicle was completely out of the lane. This ins't a judgment call situation as you described it. It wasn't a matter of "how far over did she go" but that he was convinced she was "off the road" when the video showed she was not. Sure, she was DUI, but the Cop pulled her over despite her not doing anything overtly suspicious.

    Thankfully, most of the time a hunch doesn't cut it. There has to be more. Here, the cop had a hunch.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2014 @ 8:27am

    I can see this

    It's not actually RIGHT, but the fact that, once stopped, she showed over the limit on BAC probably had a great deal to do with this decision. They bent the law (and reality) to come to a just conclusion. I don't want her on the road drunk, and the officer must have had SOME reason to stop her, particularly.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2014 @ 8:33am

    Re:

    I shall now refer to that law as 'Bloody Stupid Johnson's law'.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2014 @ 8:34am

    Your honor, despite the clear video evidence of me brutally beating the suspect for a half hour and then drawing my sidearm and unloading two clips into the suspect's head and chest, my personal experience says that he died of a previously undiagnosed heart condition.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2014 @ 8:36am

    Goodbye due process

    I wonder what it would take for video testimony to contradict an officer's recall not just in fact but also in the eyes of the court. This smells a lot like "cops are always right", which doesn't make for fair trials. Sure, the cop was right about the DUI, but he could just as easily have been wrong based on the evidence. To give the state the benefit of the doubt when the evidence contradicts the state is a dangerous midndset for a court of law to adopt against a defendant.

     

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    GeeC, Apr 10th, 2014 @ 8:36am

    Re: Re: Hmmmm....

    He thought she went over the line, but in reality only went on the line... Still seems to me like plenty of reason to pull someone over...

     

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    msmolly (profile), Apr 10th, 2014 @ 8:44am

    This is Indiana. Enough said.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2014 @ 8:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Hmmmm....

    Except it isn't enough of a reason. Read the summary.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2014 @ 8:51am

    I seem to remember that the Walking Dead is about kittens, ponies, and rainbows. Don't mind what you actually saw from watching it as I'm certified as a police officer so what I say is from undeniably true!

     

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  23.  
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    David, Apr 10th, 2014 @ 8:52am

    Re: Self Immolation

    Well, it's hard to remember these days, but there are actual crimes being committed without involving a police officer. The courts are useful for those.

     

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  24.  
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    Trevor, Apr 10th, 2014 @ 8:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Hmmmm....

    So, if a cop says you "swerved into oncoming traffic" but his dash cam shows you were entirely within your lane, just moving about a bit, and touched to the lane divider (never crossing it), would he be justified in pulling you over? even if you had an open beer in the cup holder?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2014 @ 8:57am

    Corruption everywhere.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Apr 10th, 2014 @ 9:12am

    Re: It's everywhere: court rules trump 'obvious' scientific proof

    "It's not just Indiana, it's just about everywhere in the US: the sworn testimony of a witness technically carries more weight than any "technological" evidence (including videos)"

    Which is absolutely insane.

    There is no less reliable evidence than eyewitness testimony, whether it's by a cop or not. People, cops included, tend to see what they expect to see, not what is actually in front of them. The truth of this is consistently demonstrable both in the lab and in real life.

     

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  27.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Apr 10th, 2014 @ 9:16am

    Re: I can see this

    "They bent the law (and reality) to come to a just conclusion"

    Which should mean the the case should be thrown out. Not because the conclusion isn't correct, but because we cannot afford to have cops and courts accept the "ends justify the means" argument -- that always leads to abusive police practices. Always.

    Throwing out the case is the best way to keep cops from "bending" the law in the first place.

     

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  28.  
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    Andrew Norton (profile), Apr 10th, 2014 @ 9:21am

    Re: Re:

    They'd probably want his mail sorting engine too, and then Congress could mandate 150 years of retirement pre-funded, to cover the letters.

    Where's Havelock when you need him?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2014 @ 9:36am

    Re:

    Don't forget it was at one point more or less run by the KKK.

     

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    PRMan, Apr 10th, 2014 @ 9:39am

    Re: Hypnotize cops for immunity to law!

    Slight problem. Your plan doesn't take into account high court vs low court.

     

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    JEDIDIAH, Apr 10th, 2014 @ 10:07am

    Re: Hmmmm....

    I see commuters driving like this all the time. Are they all drunk? Or is it just my OCD flaring up? It's probably the latter.

    So I don't find the officer's justification for pulling this person over terribly convincing.

     

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    John Cressman, Apr 10th, 2014 @ 10:15am

    FActs?

    Facts?! We don't need no stinking facts! What's reality when we have a perfectly good officer with ultra-photographic memory... and his own version of photoshop in his head.

     

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    Andrew D. Todd, Apr 10th, 2014 @ 10:27am

    The Real Power of the Human Eye.

    I just did a little experiment. I took a thread, about a fifth of a millimeter in diameter, laid it against a mildly contrasting background, and found that I could see it out to a distance of fifteen feet, that is, one part in 22,000. As a whole series of psychological experiments have demonstrated, the human eye often has greater performance than most cameras. I'm sure an eagle-eyed deputy could do better that I did in my little experiment. The camera in the police car is probably only a small inexpensive model, with only 500 X 500 pixels or so. The deputy was probably able to do a better job of estimating the sideways speed and sideways acceleration with which the defendant's car was approaching the white line than a camera could do. He was able to see that the defendant was doing a poor job of keeping her car under control.

    If you want to make more accurate measurements than the human eye, you generally need to design a special piece of apparatus, rather than just using a general-purpose camera. For example, an automobile has brake lights, which provide information which would not otherwise be available to the driver of a following car. I suppose the turn signal lights could be plugged into a sideways accelerometer.

    The deputy does not contradict the camera's story. He merely claims to have been able to see the same thing in more detail. Now, of course his brain translated from where the car actually was, to where it was going. That is the way the primate brain works. A little monkey sees a bug flying along, and leaps for the place where the bug will be by the time the monkey arrives, not for the place where the bug is now. Let's assume that the monkey is a new world monkey, and has a tail which he can use as a rudder. In that case, his perspective while in flight is that the bug's horizontal position is "coming towards him," and if it isn't, a flick of the tail corrects the situation. Put another way, a monkey can do differential equations inside his head, only without being conscious of it. I imagine what the deputy saw was a kind of "trend line," reflecting the defendant's car's accelerations.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2014 @ 10:41am

    Based on this ruling, the NFL is going to start using Indiana deputies instead of replays for all play reviews.

     

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    thrudd, Apr 10th, 2014 @ 10:42am

    Re: The Real Power of the Human Eye.

    What an amazing guy - all that while operating a motor vehicle at speed, operating a police radio, and a data terminal plus GPS and doppler radar system.

     

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    ltlw0lf (profile), Apr 10th, 2014 @ 10:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Hmmmm....

    even if you had an open beer in the cup holder?

    Is the open beer in the cup holder visible from outside of the vehicle? If so, I think *that* would be justification in pulling you over. Most states have really well written open container laws (as in, you have an open container in your car, in the passenger compartment.)

    However, people swerve all the time, and usually for legitimate reasons (making room for the motorcycle illegally lane-splitting at 90 mph, road debris, etc.) Someone swerving in their lane doesn't really tell you that they are drunk or just avoiding an obstacle on the road. Even swerving once or twice over the fog-line, or over the lane divider doesn't really tell you much (tire tread from a truck can break into multiple pieces, and is usually bad for your tires.) When they swerve into the right lane, then swerve into the left lane, then drive down the road occupying two lanes, it is a pretty good bet. Usually you have to follow someone for a while to determine if they may be DUI or maybe falling asleep.

     

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    Trevor, Apr 10th, 2014 @ 10:59am

    Re: The Real Power of the Human Eye.

    Except, the Cop didn't say she was GOING to cross the line. He said she was observed "off the road" meaning he saw her go completely over the white line.

    The video, on the other hand, showed her come up to and touch the white line, without going over.

    By your thread analogy, if a gust of breeze slightly moved the thread you witnessed from 15 feet and it shook, and the observer said "The thread moved off of the slightly contrasted surface" that statement would be more reliable than a video taken in less than HD format of the thread actually not leaving that surface, but just shaking.

     

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    Socrates, Apr 10th, 2014 @ 11:14am

    Conditioning the arrestee

    "... my personal experience says that he died of a previously undiagnosed heart condition"

    Plausible. As the condition didn't exist before he received a clip in the chest.

    One might say that the officer performed an cardiac arrest.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2014 @ 11:26am

    Re: Conditioning the arrestee

    YEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

     

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    McCrea (profile), Apr 10th, 2014 @ 11:26am

    Re: Re:

    Was that pi K's?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2014 @ 11:43am

    Re: Hmmmm....

    "I really don't see a dangerous precedent being set by this case."

    I think the wording may set a bad precedent.

    "to the extent Deputy Claeys’s testimony conflicted with the video, the former was more reliable than the latter."

    No, that's silly. Testimony that directly contradicts video footage, assuming the video is unaltered, should be given less weight than video footage. The problem is that the video doesn't necessarily capture everything. Factors include the position of the camera, the camera angle/direction, lighting, the calibration of the camera (zoom, focus), various camera properties, etc..

    Perhaps the video didn't do a good job capturing the car going over the line based on where it was positioned (I didn't see the video so I don't know) but that's not to say that the video 'contradicts' the officer's claim that the car went over the line. But not everything always shows up in a video or it might show up out of focus. For the video to contradict the officer would be for the video to show something that's different from what the officer said. If a video is unclear about something then the court should rule that the video was unclear about whether or not the car crossed the line and then the court could rule on whether or not the officers testimony is enough to decide what happened outside the scope of what can be reasonably determined from the video.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Apr 10th, 2014 @ 11:44am

    Re: The Real Power of the Human Eye.

    "I just did a little experiment. I took a thread, about a fifth of a millimeter in diameter, laid it against a mildly contrasting background, and found that I could see it out to a distance of fifteen feet, that is, one part in 22,000"

    Your experiment doesn't actually mean much. The visual system does not act like a camera, and metrics like sensitivity and resolution are minor factors in determining visual perception.

    For example, I'll guarantee that much of what you thought you saw as that thread you were not actually physically seeing at all. The eye is a fairly crappy camera, and your field of vision is filled with random splotches where you cannot physically see anything.

    You don't notice because your brain takes a guess as to what you would be seeing in those blind areas and fills it in for you. Much of what you think you're physically seeing you are, in fact, imagining.

    Most of the time, the brain gets this right -- especially in easy tests like yours. However, much of the time the brain gets it wrong, as evidenced by innumerable optical illusions. In times of stress or surprise, how correct your visual perception is plummets.

    This is a really fascinating topic, actually. well worth studying up on.

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2014 @ 11:46am

    Re: Re: Hmmmm....

    err ... officer's

     

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    art guerrilla (profile), Apr 10th, 2014 @ 12:21pm

    'fog line' ? ? ?

    hell, i'm an old (*ahem*) fogey, and this is the first i've heard of a 'fog line'...
    i presume that is the 'technical' term for the line at the side of the road...
    learn something trivial every day...

     

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    Jack, Apr 10th, 2014 @ 1:06pm

    Re: Hmmmm....

    @ Scott - Really? "I also don't think that the dissenting judge would know better than an experienced police officer about what constitutes "reasonable suspicion"".... REALLY? Is this a joke?

    You do realize that "Reasonable Suspicion" is a legal construct that is defined by law [read: defined by JUDGES, NOT the Police]...

    And the ends justify the means explanation is just beautiful... Have you heard of the phrase "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree?"

    Are you just trolling or are you actually not familiar with the constitution?

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Apr 10th, 2014 @ 1:39pm

    Re: 'fog line' ? ? ?

    That's what we always called it around here, from when I was a child. Perhaps because it sometimes gets so foggy that you have trouble seeing the front of your car, and that line is the only way you can tell if you're staying on the road.

     

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  47.  
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    nasch (profile), Apr 10th, 2014 @ 3:27pm

    Re: Re: The Real Power of the Human Eye.

    your field of vision is filled with random splotches where you cannot physically see anything.

    Isn't it just two, where the optic nerves attach to the retinas?

     

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  48.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Apr 10th, 2014 @ 3:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: The Real Power of the Human Eye.

    No, there are a lot more than two. If you could see the raw data from your eye, the image would look a bit like you were gazing through a slice of swiss cheese.

    The retinal blind spots are the only ones that are placed consistently in everyone's eyes. The rest are scattered more or less randomly.

     

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  49.  
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    Rosco P Coltrane (profile), Apr 10th, 2014 @ 5:16pm

    5th amendment?

    This woman won her Curt of Appeals trial. The 5th amendment states in part, "...nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb..." Why did this case go to trial at the Supreme Court?

     

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  50.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Apr 10th, 2014 @ 5:49pm

    Re: 5th amendment?

    Unless she was in danger of being punished by execution or amputation of a limb, how would that provision apply?

     

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  51.  
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    nasch (profile), Apr 10th, 2014 @ 9:28pm

    Re: 5th amendment?

    The 5th amendment states in part, "...nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb..." Why did this case go to trial at the Supreme Court?

    "Jeopardy does not attach in a retrial of a conviction that was reversed on appeal on procedural grounds (as opposed to evidentiary insufficiency grounds), in a retrial for which "manifest necessity" has been shown following a mistrial, and in the seating of a second grand jury if the first refuses to return an indictment."

    Sounds like this was probably the first one.

    Unless she was in danger of being punished by execution or amputation of a limb, how would that provision apply?

    The double jeopardy provision doesn't only apply to execution and amputation.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_Jeopardy_Clause

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2014 @ 3:10am

    Sorry but your stories involving cops never cease to amaze me with not only their bias, but their self-implicatinon of that bias.

    Of note
    1- it is entirely reasonable that the fixed camera angle in the car WAS inferior to the officer'smovable perspective

    2-The officer was factually correct in his suspicions , which supports 1 above

    3- the Indiana SC did NOT render a decision anything like your headline. Tis is a narrow decision involving the exact details of this case.

    You lack critical thinking skills when the topice turns to cops and their behabior

     

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  53.  
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    nasch (profile), Apr 11th, 2014 @ 7:43am

    Re:

    it is entirely reasonable that the fixed camera angle in the car WAS inferior to the officer'smovable perspective

    Camera angle is not at issue. If it had been a bad angle, the argument would have been that the video doesn't show what's at question. What was determined is that the video showed one thing, and the officer said something conflicting, and the officer's testimony is more reliable.

    The officer was factually correct in his suspicions , which supports 1 above

    "The person turned out to be guilty" can never be a post facto justification for a search.

    3- the Indiana SC did NOT render a decision anything like your headline.

    "The trial court found, as a matter of fact, that to the extent Deputy Claeys’s testimony conflicted with the video, the former was more reliable than the latter."

     

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  54.  
    identicon
    anonmous braveheart, Apr 11th, 2014 @ 5:09pm

    Re: Re:

    >>Camera angle is not at issue. If it had been a bad angle, the argument would have been that the video doesn't show what's at question. What was determined is that the video showed one thing, and the officer said something conflicting, and the officer's testimony is more reliable.

    Not the way I read it. What I read was the court saying that there are in this case and therefore, as a precedent, can be, reasons why a court COULD consider an officer's perception to be more complete than what a camera shows.

    Think about it. What if the case were "many citizen's see officer do bad thing X but officer's camera doesn't show this clearly"., You would demand that the view of many citizens be taken seriously and the camera's lack of documenting evidence be taken as non-despositive.

    Sure , we don't want post facto circumstances to justify suspicionless searches - that gets thrown out, but is that what happened here? How do you know? I am not saying we should permit groundless detainment of citizens, I am saying that the fact that the person was over the BAL suports not the stopping of the citizen, but the officer's assertion that he saw a reason to stop the citizen. Big difference. In one, it's post facto justification for the search. In the other, it's supporting evidence that the officer was telling the truth when he says he had witnessed (non post facto) the described over the fog line swerving.


    >>The trial court found, as a matter of fact, that to the extent Deputy Claeys’s testimony conflicted with the video, the former was more reliable than the latter."

    Yeah but it's not a broad ruling. A broad ruling would be, "if EVER a camrea conflcits with an officer's memory or testimony, THEN were defer to the officer. "

    Obviously no such ruling was handed down and even if it were,, which is wasn't, but even if it WERE it would be appealed and overturned like THAT.

    To your defense the headline and comments on this story DO read AS THOUGH that's the ruling. But it's not. Techdirt will bring reliably to your attention matters that not many other sources deem fit to cover, however, that's not the same ass saying Techdirt is an ACCURATE source of news. It's biased, the way Fox News is biased, It has a slant and it slants it's stories. It' effectively a kind of advocacy or yellow journalism. Especially when the subject turns to cops.

     

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  55.  
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    nasch (profile), Apr 11th, 2014 @ 5:30pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    What if the case were "many citizen's see officer do bad thing X but officer's camera doesn't show this clearly".

    Then that would be different from what happened here. Because in this case, they didn't decide that the camera didn't clearly show what happened so they have to go with what the officer said. They decided that the camera showed one thing, the officer said another, and they went with the officer's testimony.

    I am saying that the fact that the person was over the BAL suports not the stopping of the citizen, but the officer's assertion that he saw a reason to stop the citizen.

    No, it doesn't support that at all. That is exactly justifying the stop based on what the search later found. If an officer pulls someone over because he's black, and finds illegal drugs and guns in the trunk, that doesn't make the stop justified. Maybe this officer had a good reason to pull her over and maybe he didn't, but whether she later turned out to be drunk has no bearing on that question.


    To your defense the headline and comments on this story DO read AS THOUGH that's the ruling.


    I'm not going to try to sum up the comments, but I disagree about the headline. I think it says exactly what happened: an officer's testimony was deemed more reliable than video evidence.

     

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  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2014 @ 8:00pm

    >>No, it doesn't support that at all. That is exactly justifying the stop based on what the search later found. If an officer pulls someone over because he's black, and finds illegal drugs and guns in the trunk, that doesn't make the stop justified. Maybe this officer had a good reason to pull her over and maybe he didn't, but whether she later turned out to be drunk has no bearing on that question.

    This is the thing. I made the poknt as clear as is needed but you don't see the difference. Tht's how techdirt is- we have a pov and nothing's going to hange it and even more so if there's even the slightest bit of subtly involved. This is the prodcer's inlinagion ad also the consumers.

    If I guess correctly a 1 in 1000 answer then I tell you I had a clue, thefact that I guessed correctly givezweight to my assertion I had a clue. No cops or law involved. It just does. Even moreso the less good my odds of vuessing corectly. This is just a fact about reality generally, like gravity, and it doesn't stop being true for any circumstance including this one.

     

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  57.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2014 @ 10:05pm

    Re:

    Fuck's sake, if you want to defend something that has horrible implications based on a state that has a track record of being completely batshit, the least you could do is learn how to type. "inlinagion"? "vuessing"? "givezweight"? Are you fucking kidding me?

    Oh, wait, that probably explains why you have your thong in a knot about this, because people on the Internet pointing out the problems with cops having the benefit of the doubt all the time make your brain implode and your dick sad.

     

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  58.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 16th, 2014 @ 4:21pm

    Re:

    'I had a hunch' isn't probable cause, and should never be given merit in a court of law. Only hard facts and evidence should be considered when it is presented.

     

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  59.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2014 @ 7:42pm

    Kill all law enforcement

     

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  60.  
    identicon
    Tom Stone, Oct 7th, 2014 @ 10:03pm

    Do Your Part Today!!! Police Brutality and Abuse is No Longer the Exception, It is the Rule - NEVER-NEVER-NEVER-NEVER-NEVER-NEVER-NEVER, TRUST A POLICE OFFICER!!!!!!!! NEVER!!!!! POLICE OFFICERS ARE CRIMINALS-BULLIES-LIARS-THIEVES-RAPISTS-MURDERERS-THUGS!!! The Police Lie, Cheat, Deceive, Steal, Rape, Abuse, Harass, Entrap and otherwise do Everything in Their Power , Legal Or NOT to Make Your Life a Living Hell "I don't remember the last time a cop ever helped me out of anything!" If you don't have a device with video capabilities, GET ONE TODAY!!!!!!! VIDEO EVERY SINGLE THING THEY DO AND SAY-TO YOU, TO YOUR FRIENDS, TO YOUR FAMILY, IN THE GENERAL POPULATION & PUBLIC!!!! THEY CAN'T HELP BUT DIG THEIR OWN GRAVES !!!! They will incriminate themselves eventually just by their opening their own mouths!!! All Law Enforcement attempt to get you to do or say things to hurt or incriminate yourself, even when you are innocent!!!! Police Are Trained and Encouraged To Exhibit Severe Control & Dominance At All Times!!!!!! They have NO TRAINING in Mental Health or Physical or Mental Disabilities Interaction!!! They are Trained & Taught to Abuse, Dominate, Threaten, and Scare You!!!!!! NEVER GIVE POLICE ANY INFORMATION!!! -EVER!!!!!!!! THEY WILL USE EVERYTHING IN THE Available In This UNIVERSE AGAINST YOU!!!!! If you are a cop and you want respect than you have to give it first, and stand against those who wear the badge who have brought its reputation to ruin!!!!! Otherwise, you are just another part of this disease called Police!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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