Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Is Swag Admissible in Court?

Three juveniles in Galveston, Texas allegedly committed a small-time burglary a couple of weeks ago.  They broke into an "amphibious vehicle" at a local water park and stole the fire extinguisher, doing some minor damage in the process.  They were captured on surveillance video, part of which is linked above.  

One of the suspects is apparently known throughout his high school for his "swag," or his "signature dance move," which he "regularly performs in the hall ways," according to the local Police Captain Jeff Heyse.  Apparently, someone who knows this kid's swag identified him to police and he was arrested.

So, the question, as presented by Lowering the Bar, the legal humor blog, is whether this video will be admissible to identify him based on his swag, even though his face is not clearly visible.  According to Lowering the Bar, it may be admissible under Texas Rule of Evidence 406, which says that "evidence of the habit of a person... is relevant to prove that the conduct of the person... on a particular occasion was in conformity with the habit or routine practice."

The Lowering the Bar blog notes that a creative defense lawyer would probably parade several witnesses through the courtroom and have them all perform this dance move in front of the jury to show that this kid's swag is not so distinctive after all.  

I wish I could think of a good catch phrase for the closing argument, similar to the Johnny Cochran classic "if it doesn't fit, you must acquit."  Anybody got one for me????????


Matt said...

If you couldn't tell which move, the State didn't prove...

Michael W. Huseman said...

Nicely done.