Testimony about, rather than showing of, surveillance videos violated best evidence rule, but constituted harmless error

Commonwealth v. Kashamara Green, 2017 PA Super 140 (5/9/2016)

Ms. Green was convicted of failure to make required disposition of funds received. The evidence against her included testimony describing a surveillance video purportedly not showing either Mr. Green or his car at the bank on the day he claimed to have made a deposit of the money in question Counsel’s timely best evidence objection to the testimony about the tape in lieu of producing it was overruled. R, Green testified, claiming he made the deposit and the documentation he provided of the deposit was authentic. He was convicted, and appealed to the Superior Court where a split panel ordered he receive a new trial. The Commonwealth’s application for rehearing was granted, and a seven judge panel reversed. While the testimony violated the best evidence rule, it was harmless in light of the overwhelming (in the eyes of the en banc panel) evidence against Mr. Green.