Is it ever a good idea to confess to a crime through a YouTube video? Ohio man Matthew Cordle posted a video DUI confession for an incident that resulted in the death of 61-year-old Vincent Canzani with a video on YouTube.
It is clear Cordle believed that making the confessional video would do more good for everyone than harm for himself. He wanted to share his experience with others in hopes that less people will drink and drive. He was hoping this will save lives.
At Wallin & Klarich, we believe he is right. His video was powerful and came from the heart. Thousands and possibly millions of people will see his video thanks to the popularity of YouTube. Hopefully Cordle will accomplish his goal and get people to think twice about driving while drunk. Some lives will likely be saved.
However, you have to wonder why Cordle did not seek the advice of a criminal lawyer before posting the video. He could have made the video without sharing it with the world at this time.
If he was prosecuted for the crime, he could have agreed to make the video as a condition of his probation. Unfortunately by confessing to the crime on video, the prosecution has all they need to convict him. Many prosecutors will be happy to use a video like this against him and he could be looking at second-degree murder and 15 years to life in prison. A prison term of 15 years to life is a very high price to pay to educate others on the perils of drunk driving.
Cordle now faces charges of aggravated vehicular homicide and operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol after being indicted by a grand jury.
We commend Cordle for his video and his goals. However, we question the judgment of his timing in releasing it now. We wish him the best.
We welcome your thoughts.