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Criminal Law – Surveillance Video Identification – Improper Lay Opinion

Defendant was arrested after detectives determined he appeared to be the individual on a surveillance video who accompanied another individual who fraudulently accessed a bank account to cash a check. At trial, the investigating detective’s testimony identified defendant on the surveillance video. However, because defendant cabined his objection to the detective’s testimony solely to the best evidence rule, he waived any objection to the identification testimony as impermissible lay opinion on appeal.

We affirm defendant’s conviction and judgment of sentence.

Defendant and Harold Brundage entered a Walmart; Brundage entered the bank branch located inside the Walmart while defendant waited outside where he could not be observed by the bank teller or the bank’s surveillance cameras.

Police obtained surveillance footage from the Walmart and the bank branch. Based on the name of the individual who drew the fraudulent check, the investigating detective obtained a DMV photo and determined the photo matched the man who accompanied Brundage in the Walmart surveillance video, later identified as defendant.

Defendant was arrested for obtaining property by false pretenses. At trial, over defendant’s objection, the investigating detective narrated the Walmart surveillance video, identifying defendant as Brundage’s companion.

We rule that defendant has failed to preserve for appellate review his argument that the investigating detective offered an impermissible lay opinion by identifying him on the surveillance video. We note that when the state sought to admit the testimony, defendant lodged an objection based solely on the best evidence rule.

We further reject defendant’s argument that the trial court erred in denying his motion to dismiss for insufficient evidence. We find that the efforts of the investigating detective to identify defendant were sufficient for a jury to conclude that defendant was the perpetrator of the charged offense.


State v. Terry (Lawyers Weekly No. 012-190-18, 7 pp.) (Dietz, J.) Appealed from Randolph County Superior Court (Lindsay R. Davis, J.) Richard Croutharmel for appellant. Kyu-Eun Lee for appellee. N.C. App. Unpub.

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