The Georgia Court of Appeals reversed a Hall County court’s order revoking a Gainesville man’s probation for allegedly stealing a truck in 2021, ruling that the trial court “abused its discretion” in admitting an officer’s testimony of surveillance footage without presenting a copy of the video.
Trooier Sheron Glasper, 46, had three years of his probation revoked in July 2021 from a prior case when he was accused of stealing a truck in May 2021 from a Kroger in South Hall.
The Supreme Court of Georgia denied a petition March 7 from the Hall County District Attorney’s Office to review the appellate court’s decision.
Defense attorney Chris van Rossem told The Times he hopes Glasper will be returned from prison soon. The charges, however, from the stolen truck are still pending.
“In light of the time he has served already, we won’t go forward again on the probation revocation,” Northeastern Judicial Circuit District Attorney Lee Darragh said in a statement. “However, the main case on which the revocation was based still pends, and we’ll pursue an appropriate disposition.”
Glasper entered a plea in February 2021 to multiple counts of entering an automobile with intent to commit theft for breaking into cars. His sentence was five years with the first 18 months in jail and the remainder on probation, though the custodial time was deemed served.
On May 24, 2021, Braselton Police Officer Christopher Spears was at the Spout Springs Road Kroger working on a separate case when he saw Glasper. Glasper, who was wearing a white T-shirt and dark pants, said he needed help with a broken-down vehicle.
Spears told Glasper he would need to contact Hall County for help and that he was working on something else at the time, according to court transcripts.
Hours later, a man called 911 reporting his Ford F-150 XLT truck was stolen from the Kroger parking lot during the roughly 10 minutes he was inside the grocery store.
Spears responded to the scene and later learned the Hall County Sheriff’s Office found the man’s truck crashed in a ditch. No one was at the scene of the crash, according to court briefs.
Van Rossem wrote in his brief to the Georgia Court of Appeals that there was no physical evidence or personal items in the truck that belonged to Glasper. No witnesses saw Glasper in the truck, and Glasper never said he took the truck, van Rossem wrote.
Glasper was arrested roughly a mile away from the crash site.
A probation revocation hearing was held in July 2021 before Judge Tracy Loggins. During the hearing, van Rossem objected to the officer testifying about the surveillance video without presenting the footage. Loggins overruled the objection.
Spears testified he saw on the surveillance footage someone he believed to be Glasper, based on his appearance and similar clothing he observed earlier, get in the truck and leave the parking lot.
Loggins revoked three years of Glasper’s probation into the state prison system. Van Rossem said Glasper has been in continuous custody since May 2021.
Van Rossem said he believes Glasper was incorrectly identified as the suspect in this case.
The attorney argued to the appellate court that the judge should not have allowed the officer to testify about the security camera footage without bringing the footage to the hearing.
Spears testified that he viewed the surveillance footage at the store but had not reviewed it since, and he did not bring a copy of the footage with him after it was turned in to the police department.
The appellate court ruled in June 2022 that the trial court abused its discretion by allowing the officer’s testimony into evidence without the video and should not have revoked Glasper’s probation.
“Here, absent the officer’s testimony concerning his review of the security video recording, the only evidence admitted against Glasper was that the Braselton officer saw Glasper at Kroger earlier in the day and that he was found walking in the vicinity of the crash site wearing the same clothes he had been wearing earlier,” the appellate court ruled. “This falls well short of even the state’s lessened burden of proof in a revocation hearing.”
In its brief to the Georgia Supreme Court, the district attorney’s office argued that determining the identity of a person through business surveillance video has been previously upheld.
Glasper faces charges of felony theft by taking, too fast for conditions and failure to maintain lane from the May 2021 case involving the Ford F-150. That case is still open.