Russell A. Spatz

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How Voice Activated Smart Speakers Are Helping Solve Crimes

On Behalf of | Feb 4, 2020 | Criminal Defense |

Devices like Amazon Alexa and Google Home are changing lives at home at a rapid pace. These Bluetooth activated smart devices can be controlled from anywhere and are ready to work with a simple voice command. Whether it’s to ask about the weather, learn what’s going on in your neighborhood, or to play your favorite song – Alexa and the other smart devices are listening. The same can be said when it comes to having a crime take place in your home. The simple triggering of the device can cause it to record what’s happening in the room and the audio is sent to the Cloud.

What Happens When a Crime is Recorded by a Smart Speaker?

Recently in Florida, a man was arrested while on the spot when he was caught inside an elderly man’s home at an assisted living facility. Russell Bannister was caught stealing credits cards, after the elderly man’s daughter in Alaska tapped into the Amazon Alexa in the room to check on her father. She alerted her sister who lived nearby, as well as the authorities that made it to the home in time to catch Bannister in the act.

How Can a Smart Speaker Clear a Criminal Charge?

In incident that occurred in 2015, recordings from an Amazon Echo led to the dismissal of a murder charge when James Bates was charged for the death of his friend Victor Collins.

Collins was found dead in Bates’ hot tub. Court documents Collins died from strangulation with drowning as a secondary cause. Bates claimed he was innocent and that he found his friend’s body when he woke up the next morning and called the police. After listening to the recordings, prosecutors said they contained no evidence, and a judge eventually dismissed charges against Bates.

If you or a loved one are charged with a crime, having an experienced criminal defense attorney is incredibly important and impactful toward the outcome of your case. Consider giving Russell Spatz a call at 305-442-0200 to set up your consultation. He’s been serving the South Florida area for over 40 years and knows the criminal justice system like no other.


Pagones, Stephanie. “Amazon Alexa Saves Florida Man from Crime.” Fox Business, Fox Business, 10 Jan. 2020,

Burke, Minyvonne. “Amazon’s Alexa May Have Witnessed Alleged Florida Murder, Authorities Say.”, NBCUniversal News Group, 2 Nov. 2019,

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