In New York’s new discovery law, district attorneys are spending more time on traffic violations. Some local police agencies are not using their body cameras in an effort to help the workload inside district attorneys’ offices.
Oneida County District Attorney, Scott McNamara, says he spends multiple hours a day on traffic violations. “This is the volume on what were doing, which isn’t what we should be exerting all of our time on,” says McNamara. Just like criminal cases, prosecutors have to give traffic violation information/evidence to defense within 15 days from arraignment.
Oneida County issues about about 53,000 traffic violations a year. “…most of the paper pushing stuff we do is traffic tickets, and what happens is when we don’t do it? A handful of lawyers [will] keep filing motions asking for a dismiss, which creates even more work,” says McNamara.
Since Jan. 1., when the new criminal justice reforms took effect, the Otsego County District Attorney’s office has been taking on more work at the office. John Muehl, Otsego County DA, says some local police agencies aren’t using their body camera footage for minor traffic violations solely to help out the DA’s office. “They’re only turning it on for things that are important enough — not all police agencies, but many are because they don’t have time to turn these over anymore…it takes time to download all this body camera footage and supply it to people. One of the problems we have with [people without attorneys] in speeding ticket cases is that we don’t have their email address…We have to mail it to them, and that’s just a nightmare,” says Muehl.