Recently, a new infrared eye on a Denver police helicopter helped to apprehend a man accused of robbery and assault in the street. Nobody would claim that capturing a criminal is a bad thing. If someone breaks the law, they should be subject to a punishment exactly befitting the crime committed after being granted a fair trial of their peers and found guilty in a court of law; this is the core of our legal system. Everyone has the right to trial, and of representation by a competent criminal law defense attorney.
However, at what point does the need for law enforcement officials to do their job conflict with the legitimate privacy concerns of citizens? As anyone who has read George Orwell’s classic novel 1984 can tell you, the fear of victimization and the desire for security at any cost can lead to thought crimes and the nightmare of Big Brother.
Some people claim that privacy in our era of reality TV and social networks is an illusion at best, but do we still enjoy some reasonable expectation of privacy? Is this normal police patrolling, or is it spying on normal citizens while looking for criminals?
It’s not the purview of this blog to make value judgments on the tactics used to catch criminals; however, there are certain questions we as a society must keep in mind. Among these questions is that of the invisible line-at what point does police patrolling cross over into invasion of privacy? Is there a reasonable expectation of privacy when one is on a public street?
Assault and robbery are serious crimes, and assuming the suspect is guilty, it’s a good thing the suspect was caught. But it’s important for Denver criminal law attorneys to keep in mind that the job of a lawyer is to protect the rights of the individual, and both attorneys and the public should be ever vigilant regarding these questions.