Cellphone cameras impacting growing number of criminal cases - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Cellphone cameras impacting growing number of criminal cases

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New Orleans, La. -

These days almost everyone, it seems, carries a camera at all times, via their cellphones.

Some, like tourist Pat Maceacherin, say it's a reality that keeps them on their toes.

"I think it does because I think you're always on stage now and you have to be really careful about what you're doing and where you're posting things," she said.

Suspended LSU running back Jeremy Hill is among a growing number of high-profile people to learn the hard way.

Friday, Hill pleaded guilty for his role in a fight outside a Baton Rouge bar in April. The fight was captured by a cellphone camera.

"What happened in Baton Rouge 20 years ago may not have even made the radar. Now, this kid's got a lot of problems," said FOX 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti.

Raspanti said the video could add teeth to penalties Hill faced for prior legal troubles. "[Hill is] on probation. I think the big issue for him is going to be what the judge does in a couple of weeks as it pertains to his probation," Raspanti said.

Hill pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor battery charge Friday. A judge handed Hill a six-month suspended sentence and two years' probation, which overlaps a prior suspended sentence and probation.

Now, according to prosecutors, a judge will rule on whether Hill will serve that prior suspended sentence.

Cellphone videos are becoming more prevalent in criminal cases involving non-celebrities, too. Raspanti points to the now well-known video that was shot at the Bourbon Street Krystal after the 2012 BCS Championship Game.

The footage went viral and led to obscenity charges for Alabama fan Brian Downing, who is seen in the video assaulting an apparently passed-out LSU fan.

"[Downing] got drunk, the other kid was drunk and everybody had videos and he's done," said Raspanti. "He's doing jail time right now."

Although there are numerous well-publicized incidents out there, the cases keep coming, Raspanti said.

"I don't know what's going to make people change their behavior but I think alcohol makes people invincible... but this makes people famous, or infamous," he said. "Facebook and cellphones bring the end to anonymity. No one's anonymous anymore."

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