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High-tech cameras aid in domestic violence convictions

TEMPE — Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery announced Tuesday that some new technology being used in Maricopa County has been successful in aiding convictions of domestic violence cases that involve strangulation.

The technology doesn’t come cheap, but Montgomery said some new high-tech cameras have helped put offenders behind bars and victims at ease.

In the past, convicting a domestic violence case that involved strangulation or choking was difficult and had very low odds, according to Montgomery.

“Classic he said, she said,” Montgomery said. “She would say that she had been choked or strangled by the abuser and the abuser would say ‘no I didn’t, she doesn’t have any marks.'”

In fact, Montgomery said his office was only to file charges in about 15 percent of cases. Now with the help of extremely specialized cameras, Montgomery said it’s possible to obtain evidence of strangulation that previously wasn’t possible.

“The cameras would allow you to see broken blood vessels right under the skin, broken blood vessels behind the lips, the roof of the mouth, things that you would expect to see if blood was cut off and therefore the pressure in the head increased,” Montgomery said. “We saw the number of cases we could charge increase four fold.”

Montgomery said while testing the cameras as part of a pilot program in Glendale and Chandler over the past year, conviction rates have reached over 90 percent with many cases never even going to trial.

Montgomery said each camera costs in excess of $20,000, and the county has six that can be used to help document evidence of choking or strangulation.

KTAR’s Cooper Rummell contributed to this report.