Following community outcry regarding instances of police misconduct and violence, many communities call for the deployment of body cameras as a means to monitor and document events. As more and more law enforcement agencies have added body cameras, the use of these devices has come under increasing scrunity on a number of fronts. Issues range from those surrounding practical issues such as when the cameras are (and are not) engaged, how long footage is retained, and how the information is transmitted; their impact on prosecutor and defender workload; evidentiary issues arising from narration and viewpoint bais; questions surrounding public access to footage; and the use of cameras to engage in mass survelliance.
Defenders must know and understand the policies and practices surrounding body camera implementation, as well as the evidentiary and legal challenges that arise in the admission and presentation of camera footage. To aid defenders, NACDL has created a number of resources.
Learn more about NACDL's work on Body Cameras by visiting
NACDL's Fourth Amendment Center
Body Worn Cameras and the Courts, National Center for State Courts (2016)
Body Worn Camera Laws Database, National Conference of State Legislatures:
Considering Police Body Cameras, 128 Harv. L. Rev. 1794 (2015)
Justice Visualized, Mary D. Fan, 50 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 2017
Police Body Worn Cameras, Seth Stoughton, 96 N.C. L. Rev. 1363 (2018)
Policing Body Worn Cameras: A Policy Scorecard, Upturn (2017)
Problems with Juror Bias in Viewing Body-Camera Video Evidence, Excited Utterance: Evidence and Proof podcast, Episode #72, (July 2019)
Video Evidence a Primer for Prosecutors,BJA:(2016)
Machine Testimony, A. Roth, 126 Yale L. J. 1972 (2018)
Missing Police Body Camera Videos: Remedies, Evidentiary Fairness, and Automatic Activation, Mary Fan, 52 U. Ga. L. Rev. 57
No Tape, No Testimony: How Courts Can Ensure Responsible Use of Body Cameras, ACLU of Mass., UC Berkeley School of Law (2016)
Policing the Admissibility of Body Camera Evidence, Bellin and Pemberton, 87 Fordham L. Rev. 1429 (2019)
When Discretion to Record Becomes Assertive: Body Camera Footage as Hearsay, Note, 20 Vand. J. Ent. & Tech. L. 4, 1259 (2018)
Camera Perspective and Playback Speed:
Body Camera Obscura: The Semiotics of Police Video, C. Morrison, 45 Am. Crim. L. Rev. 791 (2017)
Cross-Examining Film, J. Silbey, 8 U.MD L. J. Race, Religion, Gender & Class 17, (2008)
Hidden Biases of Cameras, Slate, Aug. 2015
How Body Cameras Distort Real Life, New York Times, Opinion, August 8, 2019
Police Body Cameras: What Do You See? New York Times, April 4, 2016
The Camera Perspective Bias: A Case Study, 4 J. Investigative Psychol. & Offender Profiling, 199 (2007)
The Illusion of Accuracy: How Body-Worn Camera Footage Can Distort Evidence, Upturn (2017)
Slow Motion Increases Perceived Intent, E. Caruso, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2016); see also YouTube Video of same title
Truth, Lies, and Meaning in Slow Motion Images, S. Rogers, Psychocinematics, (2013)
Cross-Examination Trial Pack
NACDL’s new Cross-Examination Trial Pack includes three of our best-selling Cross-Examination resources: “Damage Control: Situational Cross-Examination Techniques Trial Guide”, "Ultimate Cross 2.0: Audio Recordings & Written Materials" and "Sample Cross-Examination Questions."
This masterful collection of cross-examination resources provide countless tips, techniques and strategies for a variety of criminal case-specific scenarios. Learn to cross-examine a variety of trial witnesses!
Death Investigation: Forensic Pathology in the Courtroom and Cause & Manner of Death (2022)
This unique program provides criminal defense lawyers with an accurate and clear overview of forensic pathology and the countless factors to consider in a death investigation and will methodically explain what happens during an autopsy to determine cause and manner of death.
You'll uncover the different types of medicolegal death investigations, what to request from your MDI expert, quality benchmarks for accreditation and certification, guidelines and standards, common terminology and frequently asked questions.
The Psychology of Persuasion & Storytelling for Criminal Defense Lawyers
This Trial Resource Guide is a masterful collection of practical tips, techniques and strategies focused solely on using the arts and sciences of persuasion to improve your storytelling skills at trial.
You'll learn how to master the ability to communicate with juries, deliver powerful openings and closings, perform convincing cross-examinations, use effective courtroom choreography and non-verbal communication, identify and develop the optimal theme and theory for your case, and offer compelling arguments during mitigation and sentencing.
Zealous Advocacy in Sexual Assault & Child Victims Cases (2022)
Defending charges of sexual assault and child abuse can be daunting — but with the right tools, it doesn’t have to be.
Every year, NACDL identifies the hottest topics and most pressing issues when defending these cases, and brings-in nationally-renowned lawyers and experts to help you prepare for battle. This year’s 13th Annual Defending Sex Cases training program is our best yet; packed with topics and speakers you won’t want to miss!