Video Called Into Service For Witnesses In Military
The State Attorney Office serving Orange and Osceola counties in central Florida plans to use videotaped testimony to prosecute cases involving witnesses or police officers called to active military service.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office is without 32 sworn officers and other employees because of recent call-ups in preparation for a possible invasion of Iraq.
State Attorney Lawson Lamar notes that up to 30 police witnesses are unavailable for courtroom testimony in both counties because of recent mobilizations. He says the counties could have to drop charges in certain cases if videotaped testimony is unavailable and mobilizations prevented law enforcement officers and key witnesses from appearing in court within the next year or so.
Gen. Rich B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, approved Lamar’s written request in August to provide videoconferencing for military personnel important to the prosecution of criminal cases.
Chief Assistant State Attorney Bill Vose notes the technology has yet to be used in any proceedings, but the military already uses teleconferencing to aid communication between battlefield commanders.
Vose adds the call-up of so many law enforcement personnel could allow criminal-defense attorneys to seek dismissal of cases on procedural grounds if videoconferencing is unavailable.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Associated Press (01/06/03) .