Friday, October 17, 2014

New Evidence, Old Evidence Rules

Digital evidence opens up a new, untapped chapter of forensic science. These days, your Facebook post or Word file can and will be used in or against your favor in court.

Yet digital evidence hardly changes the rules for acquiring evidence in general. For any medium to qualify as valid evidence, it must possess the distinct qualities of admissibility, which entails a whole host of questions. For instance, where and when was the evidence obtained? Is it relevant to the case at hand? Was it even obtained under due process?

Tech-savvy defense lawyers know how to work with these questions and hopefully render the evidence unusable in court. The merit of the case follows suit, as there's not enough admissible evidence to use. In addition, just like physical evidence, hearsay and secondhand testimonies on social media posts cannot be considered admissible evidence.

Lawyers are careful with presenting and refuting evidence since, even with evidence favoring the other side's claim by a landslide, legal technicality can be a hard blow. Even the slightest change in a description of the crime scene can make or break a case. Nevertheless, it's good to know that the tried-and-true rules of admissibility still apply in this age of modern technology.

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