Supreme Court Enters the Age of YouTube

Bringing video evidence into cases changes judges' role
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2009 8:11 AM CST

(Newser) – A Florida man who was Tasered by police three times after being stopped for speeding has petitioned the Supreme Court to hear his case. But that petition begins not with an affidavit or legal precedent; rather, he included a link to a YouTube video depicting what seems to be severe police brutality. As the New York Times reports, justices are relying on video in a growing number of cases, and it's changing the workings of the high court.

In 2007, for instance, the Supreme Court reversed an appeals decision against Georgia police who rammed a car in a high-speed chase, paralyzing the driver. The justices, who ruled 8-1 for the police, relied on video from the squad car, which they later posted on the court's website. Where once justices relied on the findings of jurors and lower courts, video, said Justice Breyer, is forcing the justices to reckon with "Chico Marx’s old question: 'Who do you believe—me or your own eyes?'"