TUCSON (CN) – A woman being tried for drunken driving wants state prosecutors prevented from using an iPhone to record a defense witness’s testimony, claiming it would create a “circus-like atmosphere” and could sway the jury. Angela Koperski’s attorney filed an emergency in Pima County Superior Court a few hours after her DUI trial began in City Court.
City Court Judge Michael Lex allowed state prosecutors working with the city to “sit in the front row in front of the witness and hold up an iPhone brand cellular telephone with video and audio capabilities while the witness testified,” according to the complaint.
The expert witness refused to testify in front of the iPhone, the complaint states, adding that the sight of a prosecutor holding up a phone just a few feet from the witness stand “directly imbues (sic) the credibility of the witness.”
“Defendant here puts forth the impact of this proposed event creates an intimidating impact upon the witness,” the complaint states. “Additionally, this separate and different treatment of the witness sends a clear message to the jury, something is unusual or strange about this witness as opposed to all others.”
Prosecutors apparently want the video recording for training purposes.
“Judge Lex inquired as to the purpose, as the proceedings are already recorded,” the complaint states. “Prior to the state’s answering the question, Judge Lex provided the answer to them ‘is it for training or something?’ The state responded ‘ya’ and the motion was granted.”
This “hastily advanced oral motion,” made while the judge was on his way out for a break, provided “no adequate opportunity” for the defense to respond, Koperski says. Her attorney, Thomas Wilson, requested leave to file an emergency special action, and Judge Lex granted it recessed the trial.
Koperski wants the judge’s decision reversed, or the trial put on hold until a new expert witness is found, “who is willing to testify under the conditions set for by the prosecutor.”