Judge BANS AI in MURDER Trial!

Artificial Intelligence may be all the rage in this tech industry hype cycle, but the hype has failed to impress a judge in Washington state. On Friday, March 29, Judge Leroy McCollougy of King County Superior Court issued a ruling banning the use of videos enhanced by AI. This may be the first ruling of its kind addressing the rapidly-expanding suite of AI tools available to those who handle and process evidence in criminal cases.

The case in which the ruling was issued concerns Joshua Puloka, currently charged with murder in the deaths of three people. Puloka’s lawyers attempted to introduce evidence form his cellphone that had been enhanced using AI tools. Prosecutors objected on the grounds that there are no precedents to guide the admission and handling of materials processed using Artificial Intelligence.

Puloka is claiming self-defense in the case. The killings happened in an incident on September 26, 2021, when Puloka opened fire in the Des Moines, Washington establishment the La Familia Sports Pub. Five individuals were struck, two of whom were wounded and three of whom died. Puloka claims that there was an altercation in progress, and when he attempted to de-escalate the situation he was shot at, at which point he returned fire.

The shooting was recorded by a cellphone, and the defense team had requested the court’s permission to enhance the video. They then asked their video editor to “supercharge” the video by using AI software. Prosecutors, however, argued that the resulting video was misleading, and that the nature of AI processing is to render the video more beautiful, without regard for the accuracy of the result.

The move comes in the midst of recent attempts by lawmaker across the nation—including the Biden administration—to govern the emerging suite of AI technologies. However, the existence of this ruling seems to demonstrate that these attempts have, thus far, proved ill-suited to the task at hand.