How to acquire a surveillance tape?

by John
(Detroit, MI)

A friend of mine was physically assaulted in an Indian casino by an employee. He filed a report with the police, who are now investigating, and he's receiving medical treatment. An attorney he talked to said she could help him if he got the casino's surveillance tape.

How does he go about getting the tape? If the case goes to criminal trial, will he be able to get a copy then? Any info you can give would be helpful. Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "How to acquire a surveillance tape?":

John (Detroit, MI):

Unfortunately, unless the casino in question voluntarily agrees to release the video tape, the only way your friend will be able to access a copy will be by subpoena. In almost all cases, a subpoena can only be issued after a lawsuit has been filed.

From the facts you present, and reading between the lines, it’s fair to say the attorney does not believe the case is a very good one. Certainly if she believed the case was substantial enough to pursue, the attorney would have accepted it and requested a copy of the tape via subpoena.

By telling your friend to secure a copy on his or her own, the attorney is essentially saying she will take a look at the video tape if your friend can find a way to secure it. But even then, after reviewing the tape, the attorney may still decline the case, unless the assault is legitimate and your friend sustained injuries sufficient enough to warrant extensive medical treatment.

What your friend should know is an assault on its own is not sufficient to warrant a financial settlement from the casino. Maybe a few chips to play at the tables for your friend’s inconvenience, but not much more than that.

If your friend is upset with being assaulted, and of course he has a right to be, he should file a complaint with the casino. Once a complaint is filed it is likely the video will be reviewed, and if the employee acted appropriately, and it appears he or she may not have, the employee may be disciplined, suspended, or fired.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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