Criminal Justice

Auto’s Recording Device Gets Trial Focus

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December 6, 2013 — The first week of testimony in the trial of a fatal pedestrian collision is leaving jurors with accounts about the conditions of the victim and the suspected incident vehicle.

Today, defense attorneys for suspect Jason Cozmanoff tried unsuccessfully to block evidence in his reckless homicide trial.  Cozmanoff is on trial for the March 2012 death of Lake County correction officer Britney Meux.

The vehicle which prosecutors say Cozmanoff was driving the night of the incident was the focus of most of today’s testimony.

Cozmanoff is charged with reckless homicide  for allegedly striking Meux while she and three other county officers were jogging along 93rd  Avenue last year.

Today his attorneys argued that evidence from the crash data retriever, or CDR, should be omitted.  The CDR machine records information such as speed, throttle pressure and brake usage, which is recorded when a vehicle has a significant change in velocity.

The judge ruled that the data was admissible, and prosecutors used that evidence to argue that immediately before the crash Cozmanoff’s vehicle was traveling from 65 to 78 miles per hour and that the throttle, or gas peddle, was fully pressed down just four seconds before the impact.

Cozmanoff admits that his SUV was heavily damaged, and he allowed Sheriff’s police to seize his vehicle.  However, his defense attorneys say that damage did not come from the same collision which killed Meux.

The prosecution told the jury that data from this device is trusted in courts and labratories around the world, thought the defense says variables such as modifications to the tires or engine can alter the data, making it unreliable.

There was also testimony today from a man who says he knows Cozmanoff and saw him drinking at a nearby bar just over an hour before the crash.  The defense pointed out that while the man saw Cozmanoff drink, that man cannot know how much Cozmanoff drank or what happened after he left the bar.

The prosecution should resume its case Monday;  the defense could begin calling its witnesses next week.


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