Articles Posted in Courtroom Techniques

• Admissibility of digital evidence:

The 2003 Louisiana Legislature passed Act 1135 amending the provisions of the Louisiana Code of Evidence Article 1001 (3) to provide that digital evidence from palm pilots, the blackberry, e-mail, and related evidence is to be treated as original for evidentiary purposes.

This and similar provisions of the Code of Evidence (e.g. Art. 1003.1) fail to recognize the potential for abuse of digital evidence. The problem with e-mail and any digital evidence is that it may be deleted, altered or preserved incorrectly. There is a presumption of admissibility of electronic duplications in Article 1003.1 by providing “a duplicate may be deemed inadmissable or excluded solely because it is in electronic format”, as will be seen from the following, this is a problem.
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I. Introduction
There is no field of governmental activity concerning which the people are as poorly informed as the field occupied by the judiciary.

It is highly inconsistent to complain of the ignorance and apathy of voters and then to ‘close the windows of information through which they might observe and learn.’ Generally only idle people, pursuing ‘idle curiosity’ have time to visit court rooms in person. What harm could result from portraying by photo, film, radio and screen to the business, professional and rural leadership of a community, as well as to the average citizen regularly employed, the true picture of the administration of justice? Has anyone been heard to complain that the employment of photographs, radio and television upon the solemn occasion of the last Presidential Inauguration or the Coronation of Elizabeth II was to satisfy an ‘idle curiosity’? Do we hear complaints that the employment of these modern devices of thought transmission in the pulpits of our great churches destroys the dignity of the service; that they degrade the pulpit or create misconceptions in the mind of the public? The answers are obvious. That which is carried out with dignity will not become undignified because more people may be permitted to see and hear.

– Justice Otto Moore of the Colorado Supreme Court, 1956 Continue Reading