A jury must base its decision on the evidence before the court and may not consider evidence outside the record. While courts do their best to ensure that juries are properly instructed and not exposed to outside information, jurors still sometimes consider extrinsic information in robbery and other theft cases. When this happens, a Washington robbery defense attorney may seek a new trial for his or her client.
Such was the case recently, when a jury was exposed to a video that had not been admitted into evidence at trial. The defendant was charged with second-degree robbery of a restaurant. Police apprehended him at the end of an alley about five blocks away shortly after the robbery. There were shoe prints in the alley matching the defendant’s shoes. He had a roll of pennies on him and just a few dollars more than what had been taken. The robber’s shirt was found in a garbage can along the alley. The employee, however, did not think the defendant was the robber.
There were three videos from inside the store and another that captured the parking lot. The outside video also showed the robber walking out of the building in the general direction of the alley. All four videos were put onto a DVD admitted as a prosecution exhibit. However, just the videos inside the store were admitted at trial. The prosecution did not have a witness to establish a foundation for the exterior video, so it was withdrawn after the defense objected. The existence of the exterior video came out at trial when the defense asked an officer about not having watched it.