Caselaw Precedent

2015 Cases

  • Sublet v. State

    113 A.3d 695 (Md. 2015)

    In which the Maryland Court of Appeals decided three consolidated cases addressing the authentication of messages and posts made via Facebook and Twitter and developed an outline of the ways in which a party can authenticate social media evidence. Maryland determined that in order to authenticate evidence from a social networking website, the trial judge must determine that there is proof from which a reasonable juror could find that the evidence is what the proponent claims it to be. Under Sublet, the initial determination of authentication is made by the trial judge, and is a context-specific determination based on proof that may be direct or circumstantial.

  • Dering v. State

    465 S.W.3d 668, 672 (Texas Ct. App. 2015)

    In which the defendant sought to transfer venue from its current location because he felt he “could not obtain a fair and impartial trial” as evidenced by the multitude of Facebook posts from third parties, none of whom testified in the case. The State argued that the Facebook posts upon which defendant based his motion to transfer venue were not properly authenticated. Upon review, the court held that names and photos from Facebook profile were insufficient basis for authentication, finding that no evidence had been presented to support the claim that the posts were actually written by the purported author.

  • Crowe v. Marquette Transp. Co. Gulf-Inland, LLC

    Civil Action No. 14-1130 (U.S. Dist. Ct. E.D. Louisiana (2015)

    An employee filed a workplace suit against employer, who discovered during investigations that employee had admitted via Facebook message that he was injured during a fishing trip. The employer requested production of entire Facebook account, which employee deactivated. The court found the evidence relevant and forced employee to turn over the 4,000 archived Facebook pages, and that efforts to avoid producing material delayed the court proceedings unnecessarily.

  • People v. Glover

    363 P.3d 736 (Colo. App. 2015)

    In which the court adopted an approach similar to the Maryland rule set forth in Griffin v. State. The defendant was convicted of first-degree murder, and in which the prosecution presented conversations from the defendant’s Facebook account as evidence. Defendant contended that the trial court erroneously admitted printouts of communications relating to the murder from his Facebook account. The court found that a prima facie showing is required to authenticate evidence, and that a `district court's role is to serve as gatekeeper in assessing whether the proponent has offered a satisfactory foundation from which the jury could reasonably find that the evidence is authentic.

  • United States v. Barnes

    803 F.3d 209 (2015)

    The Fifth Circuit held that the government laid a sufficient foundation to support the admission of the defendant’s Facebook messages where a witness testified under oath that she had seen the defendant using Facebook and that she recognized his Facebook account as well as his style of communicating as reflected in the disputed message.

  • State v. Gibson

    2015-Ohio-1679 (Ohio App. 6th Dist. 2015)

    Court held, in case involving submission of social media authentication is essentially a question of conditional relevancy, the jury ultimately resolves whether evidence admitted for its consideration is that which the proponent claims it to be. Ultimately found in this particular case that a combination of both personal knowledge of the appearance and substance of the public Facebook profile pages, taken in conjunction with the following direct and circumstantial evidence was sufficient to meet the threshold admissibility requirement set forth in Evid.R. 901(B)(1)

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