California criminal defense attorney Rick Horowitz had a juvenile client, he was shocked when the prosecutor in the case told him that to see the evidence against his client, he'd have to log in to evidence.com, run by Taser International (now rebranded as Axon).
This is radioactively illegal, violating all the vital rules of confidentiality in juvenile cases. What's more, evidence.com has already been implicated in police evidence-tampering.
But most damning is evidence.com's sweeping license agreement, which requires criminal attorneys to surrender their rights and the rights of their clients in order to engage in the normal discovery process, without which no defense is possible.
Set that aside, as I said. The fact of the matter remains that nothing in the laws of the State of California allows for Axon to have juvenile court records provided to it by the police.
This is problematic not just because it means that law enforcement officers, and complicit District Attorney Offices—and, by the way, defense attorneys who signed up for the service, and thereby not only acquiesced, but agreed to give up certain rights regarding their clients’ data, too—have ignored the law. It is also problematic because, so far as I know, the courts are unaware of this. At least, I hope the courts are unaware of this, because if they are aware of this, that means that the courts have also sanctioned ignoring the laws of the State of California as pertains to juveniles.
Why does this matter? After all, WIC 827.1 already allows a city, county, or city and county, to set up a database for exchange of (arguably) this type of data. Why can’t the city, county, or city and county outsource that task to a corporation, like Axon—the people who support law enforcement’s war on its citizens?
It matters just because Axon is a private corporation. Set aside—my god! let’s set aside every bit of the law!—the fact that WIC 827.1 expressly states that the city, county, or city and county should be in charge of this data, and should be responsible for who is given access to it. The decision as to who is granted access to the system should come from the city, county, or city and county: not from Axon.
But in the case of Evidence.com, such access does come from Axon. In fact, I have so far been prevented from obtaining the discovery in my juvenile case. Why? Because I refused to sign the license agreement with Axon to obtain access to their—not the city, county, or city and county’s, but Axon’s—website.
The Nerve of Law Enforcement
[Rick Horowitz/RH Defense]