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Archive for October, 2011
• Always begin with the original video recording. If all you have is a copy on DVD, then load the DVD directly into your forensic software by Direct Capture. Then charge (change?) the VOB extension to your decided video format like AVI.
• Color correct your footage before performing any other clarification filtering. This is especially important if your footage is dark and was recorded at night.
• If you need to enlarge a portion of the video viewing area, do so after you review the footage on a large video monitor. Remember, the larger the playback monitor, the better you can see events in the video and the less you need to enlarge your video.
• Learn the type of equipment that made the video you are clarifying. Often times a poor export may be to blame for the poor video quality.
• Document every step of the clarification process to validate your videos in court.
I have noticed lately that many Americans are being convicted of crimes that they are innocent of in the United States of America, instead of what is written in our constitution: when accused of a crime, we are guilty until proven innocent.
As a result, innocent people are imprisoned and appeal cases are at an all time high. As an audio and video forensic expert, I have experienced a growing percentage of case loads because of the appeal process; persons who have been convicted of a crime that they are innocent of. In these appeal cases, the audio and video forensic process is even more important as the case continues in Appellant Courts.
The forensic process is similar in the appeal court, however; obtaining an original for forensic examination is hard, if not impossible. If the original is no longer available, the challenge is getting both the Court and the convicted to agree on the definition of what is available to serve as an original recording.
Once an original or working copy has been identified by both parties, it is the job of the forensic expert to help build the appeal case almost always using similar audio or video evidence that was used to convict. I often find that during the original trial, the audio and/or video evidence was not properly examined.
Some of the appeal cases I have worked on took place long after the original trial and included analogue audio or video evidence instead of digital. In fact, one case I am currently working on includes a VHS tape. It is interesting to me how a tangible VHS tape is sometimes available in some police investigations and other times not accessible. I find that few government agencies hold onto evidence long after a trial.
In the case where the original has been destroyed, the forensic expert has to rely on a copy to reveal any information to be used in the appeal case. Now the hurdle is to use forensic standards that are acceptable in the scientific community and apply those standards to a copy of the original evidence. This is where a great forensic expert can use all the tools available, both software and hardware, to help build the case.
Without the right software, hardware and experience, the forensic expert cannot properly determine the truths about audio and video evidence for the court.
Experienced forensic experts who have great credentials and understand appeal processes are worth the cost to retain. Expert witnesses help the court understand and interpret the evidence and any evidence anomalies so that the court can make an accurate decision on the case, civil, criminal or appeal.
This is often how the accused was convicted in the first place; lack of understanding by the court of the audio and/or video evidence. A complete understanding of the audio and/or video evidence causes even more restrain in the appeal process than the original trial.
For more information on how you can get a second opinion for the audio and video evidence in your case or the forensic process, call the provider of this article. Every case is unique and may benefit from forensic examination. The results are not always favorable but learning and understanding your evidence will help your lawyer know how to best lead you into the appeal process.