Presentation at Body-Worn Cameras CLE

Open records_logo stackedOn Friday, I took part in Forensic Friday, a regular program organized by Duquesne University’s Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law.

The topic was Balancing Safety, Justice and Privacy: Body-Worn Cameras, Forensic Evidence & the Right to Know.

Also taking part in the program were State Senator Randy Vulakovich; State Representative Dom Costa; former State Representative David Mayernik; Commander Clarence Trapp, head of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police’s Special Deployment Division; and Duquesne University School of Law Professor John Rago.

It was a great event and a great discussion, and I very much appreciate the invitation to participate.

Here’s the presentation I used:

Body-Worn Cameras CLE – Jan. 27, 2017 – PDF
Body-Worn Cameras CLE – Jan. 27, 2017 – PPTX

Body-Worn Cameras, Forensic Evidence & the Right to Know

Forensic Fridays LogoOn Friday, January 27, I’ll be taking part in Forensic Friday, a regular program organized by Duquesne University’s Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law.

The topic is Balancing Safety, Justice and Privacy: Body-Worn Cameras, Forensic Evidence & the Right to Know.

Also part of the program are State Senator Randy Vulakovich; State Representative Dom Costa; former State Representative David Mayernik; Commander Clarence Trapp, head of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police’s Special Deployment Division; and Duquesne University School of Law Professor John Rago, who has been working closely with state legislators to develop legislation governing the use of body-worn cameras.

The program is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and is approved by the Pennsylvania CLE Board for 3 hours of substantive CLE credit, by the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work for 3 hours of Social Work credit, and by the Pennsylvania Coroners Education Board for 1 hour of Coroners Education credit.

Here’s a fuller description from the University:

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2nd Commonwealth Court Decision on MVRs

Commonwealth Court has again ruled that mobile video recordings (MVRs), such as dashcam videos, are public records.

In the new case, Pennsylvania State Police v. Casey Grove, the court upheld an Office of Open Records decision and found that the case “is virtually indistinguishable” from the first (PSP v. Michelle Grove, which I wrote about here).

PSP has appealed the first case to the Supreme Court, which has not yet decided whether to hear the appeal.

Commonwealth Court: MVR Videos Are Public

Commonwealth Court today issued an opinion (Pennsylvania State Police v. Michelle Grove) holding that “video recordings of interaction between law enforcement officers and members of the public in a public place” are not exempt from disclosure and, thus, are public records under the Right-to-Know Law. Such recordings are commonly referred to as dash cam videos or MVRs (“mobile vehicle recordings”).

Senior Judge James Gardner Colins authored the opinion, which held that “as documentation of law enforcement officers’ conduct in carrying out their duties, MVRs are at the core [of] the RTKL’s purpose of enabling the public to ‘scrutinize the actions of public officials, and make public officials accountable for their actions'” (quoting Pennsylvania State Police v. McGill, 83 A.3d at 479).

The case was remanded to the Office of Open Records for further review related to the audio component of one of the videos and Pennsylvania’s Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act, aka the Wiretap Act.

More coverage: