Today, Judge Donald Eaton issued a letter decision unsealing the District Court security camera video that has been the subject of recent controversy. See here for an explanation of what happened. The letter does not, itself, unseal the video. There are more steps to come, as I will explain.
The judge’s letter clarifies the basis for his dismissal of the charges against Dustin Schible. The Court stated that there were two “dispositive factors” in its decision to dismiss. One factor was “the very movement of the camera” and the other factor was “the absence of any credible explanations for who exactly moved the camera and why it was moved.” The Court cited “the very particular ways in which the security camera was moved” as important to his decision.
The judge will unseal the video because, “[u]nless the public has an opportunity to view at least the portions of the video recording that include the clearly deliberate movements of the camera, and to consider those movements in light of the testimony given by Sheriff Krebs and Sheriff’s Office Dispatcher Nicholas Wainwright regarding those movements, the public cannot reasonably be expected to have a full understanding of the basis for the Court’s dismissal of the charges against Mr. Schible.”
As I said, the proceedings are not over yet. The judge is giving Sheriff Krebs until Thursday February 28 to create a redacted version of the video that purports to remove those portions that cause security concerns. However, the judge will not consider redacting “those portions of the video during which the camera is manipulated to zoom in” on the juror’s notebook, the prosecutor’s table, and the defendant’s table. The judge will consider any proposed redactions on Thursday February 28 at 10:00 AM.
I have moved to intervene in the matter so that someone who opposes sealing can participate fully in the proceedings. For example, it is likely that the State or Sheriff Krebs will move to stay the unsealing order pending appeal. I would like to oppose any motion to stay. The judge will hear my motion to intervene at the hearing on February 28.
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