My first job out of law school was clerking for a federal judge. We had a case where hidden camera video made the difference. But not in the way the police thought.
The undercover officer was a dark-skinned black man, and he made a drug buy from a young, light-skinned black man. The proof was right there. Only the defendant showed up to court in a nice suit, with his hair styled more conservatively. Some of the jurors may have questioned whether the person on the screen was the same guy at the defense table on that basis. But the bigger problem for the prosecution was that the hidden camera was designed for use in low light settings, so the dark-skinned undercover officer ended up looking light-skinned on the screen, while the defendant ended up looking almost white. That turned out to be the sticking point, no matter the testimony from the undercover officer that it was in fact him in the video making the buy from the defendant.
The jury ended up acquitting the defendant, which probably was the worst thing that could have happened to him. Only 19 or 20 at the time, he'd already had a few run-ins with the law, and had maybe already beaten a state charge. Beating a federal charge emboldened him, I guess, because he went right back to the life, and within a few months he was back in federal court. Only this time he got convicted, and with his criminal history, his sentencing guidelines were pretty significant. He ended up getting sentenced on the low end of the guidelines, but that was still about 20 years. With time off for good behavior, he was still looking at a release date when he was about 40. Had he gotten convicted on that earlier charge, he might have done 2-4 years and gotten a new start on life. But that damn video . . .
I don't know anything about the TSA administrative process, but I certainly hope that at some level there can be appellate review by somebody not employed by the agency. I want to see the Circuit Court's take on the TSA decisions.
Having now read the order I like that although the Judge overruled the Defendant's objection concerning the Court's inherent authority due to lack of personal jurisdiction over Steel and HammerTime, issuing the new Order to Show Cause now gives the Court the personal jurisdiction to issue sanctions under its inherent authority. Doh!
The article didn't point out that Team Prenda missed the deadline for filing objections to the R&R, which is just typical of the way they've handled everything. Read the Order. Although it appears the judge probably did consider Prenda's objections, since the Prenda objections were untimely, they actually failed to "properly object" to anything in the R&R. Just another way the system is screwing poor ol' Steel Hammer.
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