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Expansion of surveillance camera may affect criminal defense

Video evidence, such as security footage, often plays a major role in criminal trials. Michigan criminal defense attorneys may be dealing with an increasing amount of this type of evidence thanks to an expansion to Detroit's real-time surveillance monitoring program. According to the mayor's office, there are plans to roll this controversial system out to educational institutions throughout the school.

Randolph Career Technical Education School was the first to receive the system, with almost 24 new cameras surrounding the school. The cameras at the school, along with the planned installations at other educational buildings in the city, is an expansion of Project Green Light. This program streams footage live into the Detroit Police Department. Although it has not yet enabled police to stop crimes as they are happening, the cameras elsewhere in the city have helped solve crimes afterwards.

The school's superintendent applauds the move, saying higher security will help students feel safer and focus on their education. In contrast, some civil liberties advocates suggest that data is inconclusive as to whether the cameras are truly helping. While the Michigan town saw reduced crime after the surveillance program was put in place in 2017, they say it is not clear whether that is due to the cameras.

Despite the controversy, the program continues to expand across Detroit. As a result, there is an increase in criminal defense cases where this footage is submitted as evidence by the prosecution. Those facing such cases can get more information about possible defenses from a Michigan attorney.

Source:, "Detroit expands surveillance monitoring program to include schools", Violet Ikonomova, April 3, 2018

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