Technology has made our lives easier in many ways, but it has also raised novel issues regarding how technology can be used during a trial. As seasoned New York criminal defense attorneys, we are prepared to handle these new and developing issues and to ensure that they do not affect your right to a fair trial. As the following case demonstrates, having a prepared and informed lawyer at your side can make all of the difference.
In a recent appellate opinion, the Court of Appeal considered whether a prosecutor’s use of a PowerPoint presentation that contained annotated images of evidence and trial exhibits was permissible or whether it constituted a reversible error for the court to allow the prosecutor to use the presentation. The defendant was implicated in an attack in which several men broke into the victim’s apartment. The victim knew the defendant as fellow residents of the same neighborhood. According to the victim, the defendant shot him, cut him, and dumped bleach onto his head.
During trial, the prosecution submitted video evidence of the street and sidewalk where the victim lived that were obtained from the apartment building’s surveillance system. The victim testified that he was on the phone with his brother when the men broke in, and the brother testified at trial. During his testimony, the prosecution showed still photographs from the surveillance video. The brother offered additional testimony indicating that he was in the vicinity shortly before the attack and that he believed he saw the defendant as part of the group of men.
Before the jury began deliberations, the court instructed them that they were the sole finders of fact and that things the lawyers stated during final summations were not evidence. The prosecution used a PowerPoint display during summation that contained annotated images of trial exhibits, featuring circles, text, and arrows. The photographs had also been superimposed with phrases like “victim’s brother sees defendant.”