Business records aren’t just text documents—they often include videos and other images that are digitally stored. Getting printouts of these images into evidence is just like any other business record evidence, but showing authenticity may require some tech knowledge.
Several years ago we told you to consider Facebook postings as evidence in legal cases. This is still true, but now there are many more social media platforms to consider. Snapchat in particular has become a fertile source of evidence not to be overlooked.
You know you can get business records into evidence under an exception to the hearsay rule, but you’re not exactly sure how to do it. It’s simply a mechanical process—just get your witness on the stand and follow these nine steps.
Based on public policy considerations, some types of potentially relevant evidence can’t be used at trial. One example is subsequent remedial or precautionary measures taken after an accident or other event, which, if it had been done before the event, would have tended to make it less likely to happen. Evid C §1151. Repairs and fixes can’t be used against a defendant unless it fits within an exception to the rule.
An episode of This American Life described the failed effort to get a Tic-tac-toe-playing chicken into evidence in the death penalty case of a mentally ill man with a very low IQ. Defense counsel was trying to rebut a psychiatrist’s testimony that the defendant was aware he was going to be executed based on his beating her in a game of Tic-tac-toe. We’ll never know who would have won the game; the court refused to admit the chicken because it “would degrade the dignity of the court.” Although the chicken didn’t work out, demonstrative evidence can be a very powerful courtroom tool.