And After A Week Of Videos Which Were Bad For Cops

Holy cow.  TDCAA is the Texas District and County Attorney's Association. That means, it's a group of prosecutors. Every week they publish a "Case Summaries" which highlights five or so appellate opinions that have been released, summarizes them, and gives a commentary. The summaries are great, and I read them every week. The "Commentary" is fantastic because it always criticizes any court opinion that rules against the State which I find odd because you would think the State should justifiably lose every now and then.

The above one came out today.  It's really pretty simple. The very conservative Fifth Circuit basically said, "Hey, there's a video. We looked at it. It undeniably shows the officer was wrong and the judge was wrong to believe him."  And I can't stress this enough: This is from a court composed of the equivalent of Justice Hannity, Justice Prager, Justice Limbaugh, etc.

So let's analyze it. The Commentary points out that the defense will use this case when a video supports the defendant's version of events. That's a mind blowing statement. It's a video! It's obtained from the police! You don't need to cite a case to win a hearing when all you have to do is say, "Uh, judge, I'd ask you to review Defense Exhibit A -- the video. It supports the defendant's version of the events because what he is saying is true."

But there's more. "Videos are going to start showing up more and more . . . ." the Commentary said. You think? Have you watched the news this week? But even odder was the advice to prosecutors that they needed to be ready to "explain what [the videos] do and do not show."  Ummmkay. (That's good advice if they are in front of a judge who is literally blind.) Something in the back of my brain made me think I had heard similar advice from a famous quote (and I admit that I had to look it up): “Things are not always what they seem; the first appearance deceives many; the intelligence of a few perceives what has been carefully hidden.” Let me rewrite that on behalf of TDCAA: "A video is not always what it appears to be. The first viewing deceives those of average intelligence. We prosecutors, who have the intelligence that few possess, can tell you what the video shows you because it is hard to see unless I explain it to you."

Back in the day, before video, the cop's testimony about a traffic violation would have been taken at face value. Cops win. Prosecutor wins. Case closed.  Marge Simpson remembers those days . . .