What are the standards for allowing computer evidence in court?
Posted By Law Offices of Jeffrey C. Grass || 24-Jul-2015
If it is believed that you are in possession of child pornography on your computer, authorities may seize the machine to be used as evidence as trial. This may lead you to question exactly what are the standards that must be met to allow computer evidence in court. Given the potential stigma that can accompany a conviction for possession of child pornography in Dallas, your reputation may hinge on your ability to challenge the evidence against you during legal proceedings.
According to information compiled by the U.S. Department of Justice, 13 percent of the child pornography convictions that it studied involved the use of a computer. That’s why it’s not uncommon to see law enforcement officials look for computer evidence when investigating such charges. However, there are certain restrictions to what they may do to try and collect computer evidence against you, as well as potential obstacles in their way to using such material to try and obtain an conviction.
First and foremost, it must be established if your computer is only being used to store images. If it’s only use pertinent to the case is as a storage device, they may not be able to seize it from you. Even in the event that they are allowed to seize it, they must be able to authenticate any evidence they claim to find on it. Once your computer is out of your possession, it may be relatively easy for someone else to gain access to it and download incriminating images.
Then there’s the challenge of overcoming hearsay. This refers to any statements made outside of court. Emails, web chat conversations, and instant messages could potentially all fall under this category. It then falls to prosecutors to prove that such content is trustworthy enough to be allowed as evidence.
Categories: Sex Crimes