Attorney George Pallas has successfully asserted that his client's rights were violated when activists trespassed onto his property and secretly filmed alleged animal abuse. The court has ruled that the video evidence be suppressed, forcing prosecutors to make their case against the accused without the photos and video footage.
As The Miami Herald reports, the Animal Recovery Mission, or ARM, had operatives trespass on to Yonisley Garcia's Everglades ranch to film the alleged abuse of slaughterhouse pigs. ARM has built a reputation for spying on alleged animal abusers, filming and taking photos in the process.
"This vigilante group cannot secretly record you without consent," Attorney Pallas told reporters following the judge's ruling. Prosecutors are now said to be considering a possible appeal of the decision since the footage and photos taken were central to their case against the Garcia.
Conditional Secret Recordings
The footage and photos taken of Garcia's property would have had a better chance of being admissible in court if they had been recorded by qualified law enforcement officers. Florida law states that only trained police officers can collect evidence via secret recordings—all other material from other parties could be doctored, unreliable, or wrongly collected in some way. ARM asserts, however, that material they've secretly collected has been admitted to Florida courts on three separate occasions.
We congratulate Attorney Pallas for the successful assertion of his clients' rights in this instance and know that Mr. Garcia will continue to receive vigilant and effective advocacy throughout the rest of his case.
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