Stillwater, Okla. (KOKH) — The city of Stillwater says the police department can’t access evidence from an interview room due to a technology failure.
People who have been in that interrogation room are now wondering how their cases will stand up in court.
When we asked police about this, they pushed us to the city spokesperson, Dawn Jones.
Jones says a tech failure at Stillwater PD’s interview room caused there to be little to no recordings in October 2022.
It is apparently back up and running, but we asked defense attorney Carter Jennings what happens to those cases.
He is not involved in any of these cases.
“It varies depending on the case, if it works in our favor or not,” Jennings said. “There are cases where your client’s statement is bad for you and times the defendant shows they’re cooperative.”
We asked Jennings what happens next and he says a hearing will determine what is eligible in court.
“You would want to know exactly how that evidence got deleted or destroyed,” Jennings said. “If you can show it was destroyed in bad faith then you have a basis to suppress that evidence.”
Stillwater PD says they don’t know what evidence is missing but the city sent us this statement: “In October 2022, there was a technology failure in one of our Stillwater Police Dept. interview rooms. There is an audit currently underway to identify which audio/video files are missing. Once the audit is finished, we will explore best options for retrieval.”
“We, as the public, need to be concerned because the justice system is about two things,” Jennings said “It is about seeking the truth and making sure that if we are going to send someone to prison that the state has met its burden.”
Our email to Payne County district attorney Laura Thomas was unanswered and so are the questions about what happens to these cases, since she is in charge of prosecuting them.