Some DWI convictions, as well as active cases in Ontario County could be back on the table.
An investigation by 13WHAM-TV uncovered the issue, which centers on recordings of DWI arrests at the Ontario County Jail.
The issue was uncovered when a special prosecutor was brought in to handle the DWI case of Assemblyman Brian Kolb.
“Everybody who deals with a DWI is going to be looking at why did we plead, how did we plead and what were the circumstances, and making a decision whether or not something needs to be done,” Ontario County District Attorney Jim Ritts said in an interview with them.
Yates County District Attorney Todd Casella was the special prosecutor. He’s the one who discovered, while making a trip to the Ontario County Jail preparing for Kolb’s case, that the security camera in the room used to conduct breathalyzer tests was recording the people under arrest.
The room that was being recorded is considered evidence, and while it’s not illegal to record a space where something like breath samples are taken, it has to be handed over in strict accordance with policy.
Kolb’s attorney tells 13WHAM that he learned of the camera from the special prosecutor, and that was the first he’d known about it in 30 years of practicing.
“They have to be copied or at least handed to the defense counsel,” he said. “Proof that these videos exist? That’s going to be a problem for the D.A.’s office.”
The D.A.’s office has recovered recordings dating back to Oct. 1, 2019, covering about 50 cases, according to WHAM.
“How long have these cameras been on for?” Schiano questioned. “If the sheriff’s office destroyed evidence, it puts them in a very precarious situation.”
Sheriff Kevin Henderson says his office isn’t hiding from the issue, and that they will get to the bottom of it.
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