Saturday, January 05, 2013
Deletion of personal cell phone video can lead to obstruction of justice charges (Steubenville, Ohio case)
A recent assault case in Steubenville, Ohio brings up a legal point which, although not limited in effect to minors, deserves mention in connection with teenage “cell phone abuse”.
In this case, some bystanders took videos of the incident (without intervening) and then reportedly deleted the videos. That, according to prosecutors, can lead to obstruction of justice charges. If you do nothing and never photograph anything at all, no charges would be possible. This would be true whether the video and photos came from a cell phone or conventional digital camera.
The story (Greg Mitchell) in “The Nation” is here.
The influence of the hactivist group Anonymous is being debated. The group apparently recovered and exposed some of the video. But it is also being reported that, because of posting of these videos, it will be hard for defendants to get a fair trial.
The Columbus Dispatch reported the Reuters account here.