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Monday, September 26, 2016

Ind. Decisions - More on "Appeals court says video 'indisputably contradicts' South Bend police testimony"

Updating this ILB post from September 9th, quoting from a story that day by Christian Scheckler of the South Bend Tribune on the Sept. 8th COA opinion in Royce Love v. State of Indiana, reporter Sheckler had a new, very lengthy story Sunday in the SBT, headed "Does video of arrest contradict South Bend police?
Use of force, cops' honesty at center of legal fight."
Some quotes:

But the officers’ statements are in question after the Indiana Court of Appeals this month reversed two of Love’s convictions, finding that video footage of the arrest showed he complied with the police and lay on the ground before the officers deployed their Tasers and the dog.

The reversal of Love’s convictions comes as South Bend police face scrutiny over several cases of alleged excessive force and civil rights violations. * * *

Two of the officers in the Love case were involved in a separate case in 2010 that also raised questions about excessive force and ended with an appeals court reversing a man’s conviction.

Love, for his part, has filed a lawsuit against the officers and even called for prosecutors to charge the officers, arguing they lied under oath.

“I think the officers should be charged with battery and perjury. That would only be fair,” Love, 36, said in an interview with The Tribune. “I know there are some good officers out there, and I know there are some bad officers, and I just wish the good officers would stand up and hold the bad ones accountable.”

Yet whether the officers knowingly made false statements is still under debate, and it’s unclear whether the appellate court’s ruling, which seemingly refuted the officers’ sworn statements, could lead to discipline, criminal charges or any other consequences. * * *

Cotter, the county prosecutor, this week maintained that the video of Love’s arrest in the 2013 case did not show that the officers gave false statements. He had not viewed the video but said his staff briefed him on the footage. * * *

Cotter said he expects the Indiana attorney general’s office to ask the state Supreme Court to review the case, a request that should come by early- to mid-October.

Even if some of Love’s actions happened outside the view of the camera, however, a copy of the police video obtained by The Tribune seemed to contradict the officers’ version of how the events played out. * * *

Appellate decisions that refute police officers’ statements based on video evidence are rare but will become more common as footage from police body cameras and other types of video become more widely available, said Joel Schumm, an Indiana University law professor who specializes in appeals.

“The way appellate judges consider video evidence is a developing issue,” Schumm said. “As the Love opinion shows, not all judges agree with what approach to take.”

Court of Appeals Judge Rudolph R. Pyle III dissented with the majority in the Love case, arguing that the court went beyond its authority by re-weighing evidence that was already considered by a trial jury.

By rule, Indiana’s appellate courts are expected to consider only whether the evidence most favorable to the prosecution was enough for a reasonable jury to return a guilty verdict. But the Supreme Court also has held that if the review of facts shows a total lack of evidence strong enough to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the court has a duty to reverse a conviction.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 26, 2016 10:45 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions