Many police departments now have officers wear police body cameras, which are supposed to be turned on to record police-civilian encounters in the regular course. On behalf of our client, the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, the Clinic researched and co-authored the No Tape, No Testimony report, which explains how courts can help ensure proper use of police body cameras and prevent the unfair use of officer testimony in court when the officer failed to record the encounter. The report proposes a model jury instruction that would empower juries to impose evidentiary consequences for officers’ unreasonable or bad faith failures to record. Adopting the report’s proposed instruction would help prevent wrongful convictions and advance the truth-seeking mission of the courts.
The Clinic and the ACLU of Massachusetts's report—No Tape, No Testimony: How Courts Can Ensure Responsible Use of Body Cameras—argues that courts should instruct jurors to disregard or devalue police officer testimony when officers fail to turn on their body cameras.