Articles Posted in Evidentiary Issues

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As technology continues to evolve, so do the tools law enforcement agencies use in criminal investigations. One such tool is Automated License Plate Readers (ALPRs), which capture license plate numbers and vehicle movements for various law enforcement purposes. However, the admissibility of ALPR evidence in criminal prosecutions raises important legal questions, as highlighted in a recent judicial opinion.

The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals recently ruled on a case in which ALPR evidence played a significant role in an attempted murder-for-hire trial. The evidence consisted of reports from online databases showing The defendant’s vehicle traveling at suspicious times and locations in relation to the shooting incident. The defendant raised objections to the admissibility of the ALPR evidence, arguing that its use constituted an unconstitutional warrantless search under the Fourth Amendment. Additionally, she contended that the government should have presented the evidence through an expert witness.

Despite the Defendant’s objections, the district court allowed the ALPR evidence to be introduced at trial. The court ruled that the Defendant did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy regarding her vehicle’s exterior or license plate, which the ALPR system visually captured. Furthermore, the court determined that the evidence did not require expert testimony, as presenting photographs or images of vehicles is akin to other forms of visual evidence commonly admitted at trial.

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