The continual advance of technology is making it easier and more affordable for common folk to obtain apps and software programs that can manipulate images and sounds. If the person manipulating the digital records has bad intent, those corrupted files might find their way into evidence in criminal law cases in Texas and other states. Such false evidence easily could sway a jury or judge to reach a false conclusion and punish an innocent person.
Unauthenticated records could impact cases
Several examples of potentially falsified digital evidence used in court cases illustrate the potential problem in criminal law cases. Those examples include:
• A California criminal case in which an unauthenticated MySpace image allegedly showing a gang sign being flashed by a girlfriend of a defendant.
• A separate California court ruling that says evidence authentication might not be needed.
• A Colorado murder case in which the defendant challenged the authenticity of a voicemail recording.
If someone can manipulate “evidence” and use it as the basis of a criminal complaint, many truly innocent people could face serious criminal consequences. They also must undergo a financial firestorm to defend themselves against false charges and ludicrous claims.
Social media and various digital tools make it very easy for people to manipulate potential evidence that must undergo a thorough vetting to ensure it is authentic. An authentication process could help to identify falsified evidence and help defendants to beat bad charges based on false claims against them. Some courts might not recognize the need to authenticate evidence used in criminal law and civil law cases, but an attorney can ensure the authentication gets done.
When accused of something in criminal law, defendants have an absolute right to legal representation. Courtrooms in Texas and other locales often accept digital evidence that goes unchallenged. A skilled and experienced criminal law attorney could challenge unauthenticated evidence and ensure a full and fair hearing for defendants falsely accused of crimes and other offenses.