Experts: Video helpful, but not enough to prove some cases
Courtesy of KHON2 News
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From home burglaries to hit and run crashes, victims of crimes that are caught on camera are turning to social media for help. But how helpful are these pictures and videos to investigators? KHON2 spoke with some attorneys who said video evidence is very helpful and there are things you can do to strengthen your case. With the rise of smart phones and surveillance systems, many crimes are caught on camera. "Every chance we've got a video tape, there's a smile on our face because we've got very strong evidence," former Honolulu prosecutor Peter Carlisle said. However, we're told video evidence isn't always enough. "Probable cause is enough to move forward, that may not be enough to get a conviction," Carlisle said. University of Hawaii law professor Kenneth Lawson agrees. "When you get grainy video, obviously you need more evidence than that," he said. Lawson said video evidence is good but most times you need more. "Sound makes a big difference and the nature of the crime," he said. "A lot of it depends if you got voices on the tape because if there are no voices on the tape, you're a little bit more free to argue." We're told it's important to not modify the video. "Who recorded it, that it's authentic, that it hasn't been spliced or diced before it was on Facebook," Lawson said. "You have to show me that that's an actual recording of the event as it happened." When it comes to arrests, the Honolulu Police Department told KHON2 video alone isn't always sufficient for that. Depending on the case, officers would also need corroborating evidence such as witness statements.