The Impact of Body-Worn Cameras on the Burden of Proof and Evidentiary Expectations: A Prosecutor’s Perspective

Upon learning that a local law enforcement agency was preparing to deploy body-worn cameras (BWCs), we as prosecutors had to wonder what this new evidence would mean to our presentation of cases in court. Would it mean more or less work? More or fewer trials? Better trial outcomes?

In its simplest form, footage from BWCs could be considered just another type of evidence collected by law enforcement to prosecute offenders. But the novelty and volume of this type of media, as well as the public spotlight on it, makes the evidence unique. BWCs often capture more than officers can remember or more than they observed, which can pose testimonial concerns. Because officers cannot view all of their recordings before they write a report, some details that do not make it into a report may be called into question during testimony.

The Impact of Body-Worn Cameras on the Burden of Proof and Evidentiary Expectations: A Prosecutor’s Perspective
The Impact of BWCs from a Prosecutor’s Perspective