University of Pittsburgh

John Burkoff on Authentication of Text Messages

Publish Date/Time: 
September 27, 2011

Professor John Burkoff commented on a PA Superior Court ruling that does not allow text messages to be used as evidence unless the prosecution can prove who sent them.  The case involved thirteen drug-related text messages found on the defendant's cell phone; prosecution witnesses conceded that the phone was sometimes used by persons other than the defendant.  Because the prosecution couldn't prove who sent the texts, the messages should not have been part of the evidence seen by the jury in the defendant's trial.  Professor Burkoff said that the case was just the latest example of how courts are "struggling to figure out just how to deal with the legal and evidentiary issues newly posed by the various forms of 'new' technology."




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