Nick Lotito & Seth Kirschenbaum

Former Federal Prosecutors

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Should Fulton County police approve the use of body cameras?

From misdemeanors to felonies, petty crimes to violent crimes, defendants are encouraged to seek legal representation, not only to present the best defense possible, but also to learn of options that sometimes exist, such as diversion programs that lead to charges being dismissed or alternatives such as drug court.. This is because most people have a minimal understanding of the law and may not know how it applies to their situation. With an attorney's help, a defendant has a better chance of having their case resolved favorably.

In the end though, criminal trials often contain one major element: it's the prosecutor's word against the defendant's. Though it's been an issue for the criminal justice system from its inception, it was hoped that advancements in technology, like digital video and audio recorders, would improve, if not remedy this issue by giving the courts better proof of what really happened.

Despite these advancements, video and audio evidence is still debated in court cases everywhere, including here in Georgia. This is because there are still issues  with the use of these devices. Police can turn them on and off whenever they want, which fails to give the courts the whole side of the story. In addition, the use of recording devices at times raises issues of invasion of privacy and concerns that a person's rights may be violated.

It's these concerns and more that Fulton County law enforcement agencies need to consider before they approve the use of body cameras in the area. At present time, the use of body cameras has been approved in six cities, including our own Atlanta, and across Cobb County. Now, the question has been raised: should Fulton County police approve the use of body cameras as well?

This is a difficult question to answer because there are two sides to the issue. Police tend to favor the use of body cameras while citizens are at times more leery of their use and whether laws governing their use provide adequate safeguards. The hope is that if Fulton County does approve their use that it will be accompanied with regulations making its use more uniform, allowing access to videos when issues arise in various confrontations and providing safegurds to protect privacy concerns.

Source: WXIA News, "Fulton Co. officers discuss good and bad of body cameras," May 27, 2015

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Nick Lotito & Seth Kirschenbaum

Former Federal Prosecutors

918 Ponce de Leon Avenue, N.E. Atlanta, GA 30306 Phone: 404-692-5168 Fax: 404-872-1622 Atlanta Law Office Map