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Thursday
Oct252007

SF Cameras Prove Innocence...69 Days Too Late

Despite a clear fascination with red light cameras and other video traffic tracking systems, San Francisco policy makers can’t quite figure out how to use city surveillance systems in the pursuit of actual criminals. Even worse, it seems, the city's backward policy now prevents the exoneration of the innocent.

Here is one case in point:
Butler and Dillon were positively identified by the robbery victims, according to the public defender's office. They were then booked for robbery and assault with intent to commit great bodily harm.

During Butler's primary court appearance a witness informed deputy public defender Eric Quant that she had been with Butler during the time of the robbery and that surveillance cameras at 16th and Mission streets could prove this.

Quant then requested copies of the tapes, but was denied because city policy restricts the release of the tapes. According to the public defender's office, Quant was informed that all tapes are erased after seven days.

He then requested that the Department of Emergency Management, which is in charge of the tapes, not erase them pending a formal request. The videotapes were reviewed and showed that Butler and Dillon were at the corner of 16th and Mission streets at the time of the robbery.

Charges for both men were dropped Oct. 16. Both men were imprisoned for 69 days before being released.
69 days? Really?

Reader Comments (2)

>yeah police bureaucracy is pretty shocking. But the real story here is one that is repeated time and time again, convictions made on the basis of a 'positive id' by witnesses. If any other form of evidence was as prone to being wrong as witness identification juries would be prevented from hearing it. A jury should not be allowed to convict, nor should a prosecutor be allowed to go to trial with only witness id as evidence. As long as we cling to the idea that witnesses are reliable we will see miscarriages of justice.

June 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterpenfold

>Dallas Police is trying to do something about that problem.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090821/ap_on_re_us/us_police_lineups_dallas

August 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBadabum Badabum

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