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Can defendant be barred from viewing traffic stop video when he requested over 8 months? DA entered as evidence to force plea.

Yreka, CA |

DA has stalled case- request continuation after continuation. Last court date- no urine analysis done 8 months after traffic stop so another continuation. Police report fabricated. Sobriety test done off camera. Trying to force a plea bargain for a wet reckless. Defendant filed discovery for video at first hearing. Was told there was no video. Then half a year later, prosecution claimed new evidence, asked for another continuance and submitted video. Defendant's attorney was given video Friday before Monday court date. Judge ordered attorney not to allow the defendant to view the video. Next court date is Oct. 1st and is deadline for accepting plea bargain. Still not able to view video.

Attorney Answers 2

Posted

Ok, a few things. Obviously this is a DUI case, and obviously the defendant is represented by the Public Defender's Office. You bring up a few interesting points here in your angry rant. I'll try to take them one at a time.

Can the DA drag a case out forever? - No. The defendant had to waive time, and his/her attorney had to continually agree to the continuances. A defendant accused of a misdemeanor can demand a trial within 30 days at any time. This may be unwise if they are still gathering evidence.

What do you do if the police lie in their reports? - Join the crowd. The defendant's attorney can try to trip the officer up in cross-examination if they tell inconsistent lies. This is why we have trials, and why a good lawyer makes for allot of angry cops.

What can I do if the Sobriety is done off camera? - Nothing. The police don't have to record their arrests. Most police agencies in California don't even have videotaping equipment in their squad cars.

What can I do about the prosecutor orignally saying there was no video, and then comming up with a video later on? - Nothing, but I'm not sure what you are angry about. Did you want the trial to go on without the video? The attorney could have demanded a speedy trial and gotten this done. Did you want to review the video prior to trial. Great, now you can. You could theoretically ask for sanctions agains the prosecution for producing late evidence, but this will almsot ceratinly be denied unless a pattern of misconduct can be seen. Also it seems odd to me to hear that the "defendant" "filed for discovery" "at the first hearing." There is no "filing" for discovery. A request needs to be sent to the District Attoreny's Office. If this wasn't done, asking for things in open court wouldn't get the defendant anywhere. The request certianly is never "filed" with the court. If such a request was properly made, and ignored, 15 days later a request to the court should have been made to compel the prosecutor to produce the requested evidence.

Now. As to the actual highlighted question - Can a defendant be barred from viewing the dashcam video? - Normally no. I can't imagine why a judge would do that. I'm not sure I believe that they did. If the video was going to be used as evidence at the trial it would need to be played in open court. The judge would gain nothing by making this kind of order. If the public defender simply doesn't want to take the time to play it for the defendant, that is another matter. Usually these kinds of things get sorted out by asking the judge to assign a new public defender. The request is called a "Marsden Request."

By the way did you say a "urine test" was done? Who is still using those? Was there really no blood or breath test given?

Whole case sounds fishy.

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4 comments

Asker

Posted

Well, it sounds fishy to me to. I went with the defendant to court last time and yes they were referring to not having completed the urine analysis. Also, I sat there while the paid attorney told the defendant that the judge has ordered him to not allow the defendant to view the video because supposedly it contains "confidential material". By the way, the attorney has been paid so far almost $2,500. He is not a public defender. I don't want to sit by and watch my friend get screwed. He needs help. I don't know exactly when the discovery was filed, as I was not there at that time, but I was aware that his attorney filed for discovery of the video very early on and was told there was not a video. Does he need a new attorney?

Greg Hagopian

Greg Hagopian

Posted

Hard to say. I can't imagine what confidential material could possibly be in a dashcam. I don't want to suggest that the man is lying, but if I didn't her the judge say the words, I would be skeptical.

Asker

Posted

Thank you, Greg. I am very skeptical. My friend, the defendant, unfortunately is more trusting than me. However, his attorney has not been returning his phone calls before the last court date and continuing now. Can my friend request on his own a continuance which will allow him time to find a new attorney and allow the new attorney time to get up to date on the case? Also, time to get money together to pay the new attorney the retainer fee? I would say about 3 months. Could he ask for a continuance in this case? Also, I will ask my friend, but I believe when he went back into the court room that the barring of the video was brought up in court. I suspect some collusion. I know you don't want to side against other attorneys on this site, completely understandable. Can he request a new venue for the case to be tried in this case if he suspects something is up?

Asker

Posted

Also, the paid attorney seemed to be doing a great job until the last couple of months when he started not returning phone calls. The court appearance before the video was brought into evidence, the attorney tripped up the arresting officer alot. I think the prosecution is bluffing in order to get my friend to sign a plea. I know my friend is disturbed by the attorney not returning calls, but is hoping that his attorney is doing a good job still. He is strapped for cash and does not know what to do.

Posted

Mr. Hagopian answered your question quite thoroughly. You have an attorney, so you really need to be discussing these points with him or her. If it is a public defender, then you should consider hiring a private attorney. You have a lot of viable issues, which a good attorney could address. Good luck!

The above stated is advice only, and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

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