Case dismissed after sheriff uses camera to zoom in on notes
FRIDAY HARBOR, Wash. (AP) — Charges have been thrown out in a San Juan County case after it was revealed a county sheriff was using a courtroom security camera to zoom in on defense notes and a juror's notebook.
The Seattle Times reports San Juan County Superior Court Judge Donald Eaton reviewed video from the surveillance camera and subsequently dismissed misdemeanor assault and trespass charges against a Lopez Island man after finding the incident amounted to government misconduct that had violated his right to a fair trial.
San Juan County Sheriff Ron Krebs, in a sworn declaration, says he "inadvertently manipulated the camera in the District Courtroom in such a way that it zoomed in on one or more locations in the courtroom" and insisted he didn't read or pass on anything he may have seen.
Telephone and email messages seeking comment from Krebs were not returned.