Houston’s new video surveillance mandate unlawful, lawyers say

On Balance with Leland Vittert

CHICAGO (NewsNation) — A new ordinance requiring some Houston businesses to have surveillance technology may not hold up in court, attorneys say.

The ordinance mandates all Houston bars, nightclubs, sexually-oriented businesses, convenience stores and game rooms inside city limits have security cameras and hold footage for 30 days. They also must turn video over to police within 72 hours of any request.

Houston City Council passed it Wednesday in a 15-1 vote and follows a shooting a The Galleria mall Saturday night.

Civil rights attorney Robert Patillo and criminal defense attorney Phillip Turner both agree that the city of Houston’s new law is problematic.

Houston police argue surveillance video helps investigators move quicker and could deter acts of violence, but Pattillo says it opens up a quagmire of legal issues.  

“Any evidence that you take without a warrant is never going to hold up in court. So regardless of what you say, it’ll never meet that bar procedurally,” Pattillo said

“So the idea that you’re going to force these businesses to install thousands of dollars of camera equipment and turn them over to the state without a warrant is ridiculous across the board,” he continued.

Agreeing, Tuner says legal advice is clearly not in play here.

“I’m waiting for a court to adjourn this very quickly saying, ‘you cannot force people to buy something,'” he said.

Check out the rest of the interview above.

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