Justin Bieber’s CCTV jail videos filmed after his DUI arrest at Miami Beach police station are about to hit the public slipstream, and an eager entertainment news cycle.
However, five clips that may show Bieber urinating into a cup for a drug test or in “various states of undress” will continue to be sealed while Miami-Dade Court Judge William Altfield reviews the videos to decide whether they are releasable or exempt.
The release of what is reportedly more than 10 hours of jail video footage follows an expired deadline set by Altfield who ruled that any objections to further video releases had to be by filed by Wednesday afternoon.
As it turned out, Bieber’s defense team, led by famed attorney Roy Black, said Tuesday they would not object to prosecutors releasing the jail videos, with the exception of the disputed clips.
The Miami Herald reports the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office has said it will most likely release the video footage Wednesday afternoon.
Bieber, 19, was arrested on January 23 on suspicion of DUI while driving a rented, yellow Lamborghini. Co-arrestee pal, Khalil Sharieff, also 19, drove a red Ferrari. Arresting officers claim the pair were drag racing at speeds exceeding the 30 mph limit in the residential Miami Beach street.
Police allege the superstar swore repeatedly before his arrest, failed a field sobriety test, “reeked” of alcohol, and admitted to smoking marijuana, taking prescription medication, consuming alcohol earlier that day.
Two breath tests revealed Bieber had negligible blood-alcohol concentration at the time of his arrest. However, toxicology revealed the active ingredient in marijuana and Xanax were also present in his system.
Under Florida’s rigorously applied public records law, once evidence in a criminal case is turned over to the defense it is considered public record.
Following Miami Beach police’s release of a jail video showing Bieber getting a pad down from an officer, his lawyers filed a motion to block further disclosures. They claimed the release of video showing the star’s “intimate, private parts” — including urination and semi-clad content — would cause “irreparable harm” before the hearing.
Citing privacy reasons under the Florida Constitution and Florida Statutes, at the hearing Bieber’s legal team insisted these clips were exempt from public view.
“No reason why the media should make a spectacle of that event, even if it happens to be someone who is high profile,” said one of his attorneys, Howard Srebnick.
Media lawyers insisted mere embarrassment could not override the public’s right to evidence under Florida law, arguing minimal black bar redaction would take care of Bieber’s blushes. They insist their intention is not to gawk at Bieber’s genitalia.
Defense disagreed with media that redaction was any less “demeaning” to Bieber but all the parties agreed Judge Altfield should review the disputed videos and court filings before announcing a decision on March 4.
One such filing by the defense is a corrected reply in support of their [Feb. 7] emergency motion to quash the media’s public record request pursuant to Section 119.01 of the Florida Statutes, which quoted precedent case law in support of inmate privacy rights and argued that video of the urination test is not a public record.
Houchins V.KQED 1978:
“Inmates in jails, prisons or mental institutions retain certain fundamental rights of privacy; they are not like animals in a zoo to be filmed or photographed at will by the media or public reporters.”
Further cases were cited to support the contention that a recording of a defendant urinating “does not in any way reflect the actions of government”, and remains an intimate bodily act, the right to privacy of which is not forfeited by being accused of a crime.
Additionally, the defense cited a range of law from Florida Statutes, the Florida Constitution Article 1 Section 23, State v. Calhoun (1985), case law from Mingo v. US Dept. of Justice (2011) which included text stating disclosure of intimate footage violates public policy and further:
“That discovery derived from these criminal proceedings ‘is not intended to provide a vehicle for generating content for broadcast and other media’ by subjecting [the] Defendant to public ridicule and embarrassment that infringes his constitutional rights.”
According to TMZ, Bieber and his legal team rejected a plea deal offer from prosecutors over random drug testing and other terms.
The site claims the DUI case is almost certainly heading for trial.
A recent scheduled trial date of March 3 was canceled pending the March 4 decision. A new date has yet to be set.