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Rules

H698: Release Body-Worn/Dashboard Camera Video. Latest Version



AN ACT to require the release of body‑worn and dashboard camera recordings upon request after FORTY‑EIGHT hours have passed from the time of the recording.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

SECTION 1.  G.S. 132‑1.4A reads as rewritten:

§ 132‑1.4A.  Law enforcement agency recordings.



(f)        Release of Recordings to Certain Persons; Expedited Process. – Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (g) of this section, a person authorized to receive disclosure pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, or the custodial law enforcement agency, may petition the superior court in any county where any portion of the recording was made for an order releasing the recording to a person authorized to receive disclosure. There shall be no fee for filing the petition which shall be filed on a form approved by the Administrative Office of the Courts and shall state the date and approximate time of the activity captured in the recording, or otherwise identify the activity with reasonable particularity sufficient to identify the recording. If the petitioner is a person authorized to receive disclosure, notice and an opportunity to be heard shall be given to the head of the custodial law enforcement agency. Petitions filed pursuant to this subsection shall be set down for hearing as soon as practicable and shall be accorded priority by the court.

The court shall first determine if the person to whom release of the recording is requested is a person authorized to receive disclosure pursuant to subsection (c) of this section. In making this determination, the court may conduct an in‑camera review of the recording and may, in its discretion, allow the petitioner to be present to assist in identifying the image or voice in the recording that authorizes disclosure to the person to whom release is requested. If the court determines that the person is not authorized to receive disclosure pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, there shall be no right of appeal and the petitioner may file an action for release pursuant to subsection (g) of this section.

If the court determines that the person to whom release of the recording is requested is a person authorized to receive disclosure pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, the court shall consider the standards set out in subsection (g) of this section and any other standards the court deems relevant in determining whether to order the release of all or a portion of the recording. The court may conduct an in‑camera review of the recording. The court shall release only those portions of the recording that are relevant to the person's request and may place any conditions or restrictions on the release of the recording that the court, in its discretion, deems appropriate.

(g)        Release of Recordings; General; Court Order Required. – Recordings in the custody of a law enforcement agency shall only be released pursuant to court order. Any custodial law enforcement agency or any person requesting release of a recording may file an action in the superior court in any county where any portion of the recording was made for an order releasing the recording. The request for release must state the date and approximate time of the activity captured in the recording, or otherwise identify the activity with reasonable particularity sufficient to identify the recording to which the action refers. The court may conduct an in‑camera review of the recording. In determining whether to order the release of all or a portion of the recording, in addition to any other standards the court deems relevant, the court shall consider the applicability of all of the following standards:

(1)        Release is necessary to advance a compelling public interest.

(2)        The recording contains information that is otherwise confidential or exempt from disclosure or release under State or federal law.

(3)        The person requesting release is seeking to obtain evidence to determine legal issues in a current or potential court proceeding.

(4)        Release would reveal information regarding a person that is of a highly sensitive personal nature.

(5)        Release may harm the reputation or jeopardize the safety of a person.

(6)        Release would create a serious threat to the fair, impartial, and orderly administration of justice.

(7)        Confidentiality is necessary to protect either an active or inactive internal or criminal investigation or potential internal or criminal investigation.

(8)        There is good cause shown to release all portions of a recording.

The court shall release only those portions of the recording that are relevant to the person's request, and may place any conditions or restrictions on the release of the recording that the court, in its discretion, deems appropriate.

In any proceeding pursuant to this subsection, the following persons shall be notified and those persons, or their designated representative, shall be given an opportunity to be heard at any proceeding: (i) the head of the custodial law enforcement agency, (ii) any law enforcement agency personnel whose image or voice is in the recording and the head of that person's employing law enforcement agency, and (iii) the District Attorney. Actions brought pursuant to this subsection shall be set down for hearing as soon as practicable, and subsequent proceedings in such actions shall be accorded priority by the trial and appellate courts.

(g1)      Release of Recordings. – Recordings in the custody of a law enforcement agency shall be released only as provided by this section. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, a custodial law enforcement agency shall release a recording, upon request, after 48 hours have passed from the time of the recording, unless a court orders pursuant to this subsection that the release of the recording shall be restricted for a specified period of time.

Any custodial law enforcement agency may file an action in the superior court in any county where any portion of the recording was made for an order restricting release of the recording for a specified period of time. The request must state the date and time of the activity captured in the recording, or otherwise identify the activity. The court may conduct an in‑camera review of the recording. In determining whether to restrict the release of all or a portion of the recording for a specified period of time, in addition to any other standards the court deems relevant, the court shall consider the applicability of all of the following standards:

(1)        Release is necessary to advance a compelling public interest.

(2)        The recording contains information that is otherwise confidential or exempt from disclosure or release under State or federal law.

(3)        The person requesting release is seeking to obtain evidence to determine legal issues in a current or potential court proceeding.

(4)        Release would reveal information regarding a person that is of a highly sensitive personal nature.

(5)        Release may harm the reputation or jeopardize the safety of a person.

(6)        Release would create a serious threat to the fair, impartial, and orderly administration of justice.

(7)        Confidentiality is necessary to protect either an active or inactive internal or criminal investigation or potential internal or criminal investigation.

(8)        There is good cause shown to release all portions of a recording.

The court shall restrict the release of only those portions of the recording that it deems necessary to restrict.

In any proceeding pursuant to this subsection, the following persons shall be notified and those persons, or their designated representative, shall be given an opportunity to be heard at any proceeding: (i) the head of the custodial law enforcement agency, (ii) any law enforcement agency personnel whose image or voice is in the recording and the head of that person's employing law enforcement agency, and (iii) the District Attorney. Actions brought pursuant to this subsection shall be set down for hearing as soon as practicable, and subsequent proceedings in such actions shall be accorded priority by the trial and appellate courts.

(h)        Release of Recordings; Law Enforcement Purposes. – Notwithstanding the requirements of subsections (c), (f), and (g) (c) and (g1) of this section, a custodial law enforcement agency shall disclose or release a recording to a district attorney (i) for review of potential criminal charges, (ii) in order to comply with discovery requirements in a criminal prosecution, (iii) for use in criminal proceedings in district court, or (iv) for any other law enforcement purpose, and may disclose or release a recording for any of the following purposes:

(1)        For law enforcement training purposes.

(2)        Within the custodial law enforcement agency for any administrative, training, or law enforcement purpose.

(3)        To another law enforcement agency for law enforcement purposes.

(4)        For suspect identification or apprehension.

(5)        To locate a missing or abducted person.

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SECTION 2.  This act is effective when it becomes law.