Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Prosecutor: Release of dog bite video could "further inflame" the public, cause witness amnesia and violate the alleged victim's privacy.

As I reported on June 24, 2014 (here), I filed suit on June 10, 2014 seeking public disclosure of a video that allegedly shows a police dog being intentionally sicced on a 57-year-old woman.  The dog's handler, Tuckerton Police Corporal Justin Cherry, was charged with second-degree official misconduct and third-degree aggravated assault in connection with the incident.

On July 2, 2014, the Ocean County Prosecutor's office, in its filed objection (here), claimed that release of the video "will further serve to inflame" members of the public who have already posted "inflammatory comments . . . on the Internet about this case."  On July 7, 2014, My attorney, Richard Gutman, filed a reply which is on-line here.

Samuel Marzarella, who authored the Prosecutor's opposition brief also expressed concern that "if there are other witnesses out there in any prior dog bite cases involving this Officer with information favorable to him, they will certainly be hesitant to come forward in light of an inflammatory video." 

Further, Marzarella believes that disclosure of the video on YouTube would cause witnesses to come down with amnesia. "Along similar lines, persons who are potential witnesses in these cases may be able to view the tape on UTube, [sic] Plaintiff’s site or elsewhere – and this has the capacity to influence their recollection of events and testimony, or details that they remember might be deemphasized per the tape."

Finally, Marzarella put into evidence a June 30, 2014 letter from Cornelius W. Daniel, III, a Point Pleasant lawyer representing Wendy H. Tucker--the alleged dog-bite victim--regarding the criminal charges pending against her.  Daniel claims that the video should not be disclosed "because of privacy and other related issues."

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