Are transcripts of cell phone text messages admissible as evidence in court?

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Are transcripts of cell phone text messages admissible as evidence in court?

Asked on June 4, 2014 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

This is in a criminal case, correct?  And I am guessing that the Prosecutor is offering the text as evidence?  Or are you offering it in a defense? The California Court of Appeal has held that there must be sufficient evidence to authenticate a text. See People v. Von Gunten. Here the court found there was an absence of direct, circumstantial, or other reliable evidence linking the alleged sender to the screen name for the message. The sender invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege, and no witness testified that the sender had ever used the screen name at issue or offered other evidence that he was the source of the message. This is a new and difficult area of the law.  Seek help.


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