In what appears to be the nation's first such appellate ruling in a criminal case, Florida's 4th District Court of Appeal agreed with the trial judge who allowed Broward County prosecutors to use evidence gathered from the car's "black box" in Edwin Matos' 2003 trial for manslaughter. Matos was found guilty of killing two teenage girls while speeding.
"This is a tool we're going to be using more and more often in traffic investigations," said Michael Horowitz, the prosecutor who won two manslaughter convictions against Matos. "It's an objective piece of evidence that can convict or exonerate you."
Now, I've no real problem in upholding the conviction of Mr. Matos, and we've generally been aware that newer model cars have these gizmos, but I'm concerned about the future application of this ruling. How long before the automakers are pressured into building an accessible port or even WI-FI transmitters in the vehicle enabling authorities to instantly view the car history?
Seems like some legislative limits might be in order...or not....