Caselaw Precedent

2017 Cases

  • People v. Price

    80 N.E.3d 1005 (2017)

    Court held that there is no strict rule or formula that must be met in order for social media communications authenticated in order to be admitted into evidence, though there must be sufficient indicia that the communication came from the offer in order to be properly authenticated. The court noted that, “Given the general population’s mass consumption and use of social media, predictably, social media postings are becoming an important source of evidence.” Court ultimately vacated conviction and ordered new trial where prosecution failed to authenticate photo of defendant holding gun ostensibly used in robbery.

  • Lantigua v. Goldstein

    149 A.D.3d (2017)

    The party seeking to use social media posts against their alleged author was unable to produce the person who obtained the printouts, and plaintiff denied that the printous were from his account, and there was “no other means to prove or disprove their authenticity.”

  • United States v. Thomas

    No. 16-1592 (6th Cir. 2017)

    In which court held that the various questions raised by potentially altered social-media images "could conceivably be quite interesting.” Held that Facebook photos could not be authenticated and were thus inadmissible in part because [the investigator who obtained them] admitted that he did not know who created the Facebook page or whether the Facebook page itself was authentic.

  • Matter of R.D. (C.L.)

    58 Misc. 3d 780 (Fam. Ct. N.Y. Co. 2017)

    In which the lower court found that screenshots of text messages sent by a mother to an unknown party agreeing to engage in prostitution was authenticated by a variety of corroborating evidence submitted by the offering party. In so finding, the court noted that authentication might come from a combination of sources, including circumstantial evidence.

  • People v. Shortell

    155 A.D.3d 1442 (2017)

    In which defendant was convicted of multiple drug charges. In the course of trying the defendant on those charges, certain Facebook messages were introduced as evidence. Defendant argued that the court erred in permitting the state to introduce a private Facebook message, claiming a lack of foundation. In this instance, as there was considerable outside testimony corroborating the contents of the message along with additional circumstantial corroborating evidence, the court admitted the messages as properly authenticated.

  • United States v. Blanchard

    867 F.3d 1 (2017)

    Defendant in this case argued that social media pages proffered as evidence were not properly authenticated, that they therefore should not have been admitted, and that he was prejudiced by their admission. Court held that it is axiomatic that documentary evidence must be authentic. The court went on to note that authenticity is closely related to relevance, for if an item is not what it purports to be then it may not be relevant to the inquiry. The standard the district court must apply in evaluating a document's authenticity is whether there is “enough support in the record to warrant a reasonable person in determining that the evidence is what it purports to be.

  • Matter of Montalbano v. Babcock

    155 A.D.3d 1636 (2017)

    Case involving a family dispute, in which a screenshot of a Facebook post was admitted based as properly admitted in evidence at the fact-finding hearing based on the mother's testimony that it accurately represented the father's Facebook page on the date in question and that she had communicated with the father through his Facebook page in the past.

  • State of Louisiana v. Turner

    Court of Appeals of Louisiana Fourth Circuit (2017)(unpublished)

    Reaffirmed the holding of State v. Smith, finding that authentication renders evidence of the social media posts admissible at trial. Whether the social media posts are reliable evidence is a question for the jury. Similarly, whether the opposing party can attack the reliability of the evidence at trial is not part of the trial court's preliminary inquiry.

  • People v. Franzese

    154 A.D.3d 706 (2017)

    Defendant appealed his conviction, and as part of his appeal, argued that a YouTube video which had been submitted into evidence was not properly authenticated. The court noted that, "[A]uthenticity is established by proof that the offered evidence is genuine and that there has been no tampering with it," and "[t]he foundation necessary to establish these elements may differ according to the nature of the evidence sought to be admitted.”Here, the YouTube video was properly authenticated by a YouTube certification, which indicated when the video was posted online, by a police officer who viewed the video at or about the time that it was posted online, and by the defendant's own admissions about the video made in a phone call while he was housed at Rikers Island Detention Center. The court further held that the video was further authenticated by its appearance, contents, substance, internal patterns, and other distinctive characteristics.

  • Moss v. State

    (Del. Supreme Court 2017)

    Citing Parker v. State for the proposition that, “Where a proponent seeks to introduce social media evidence, he or she may use any form of verification available under Rule 901 — including witness testimony, corroborative circumstances, distinctive characteristics, or descriptions and explanations of the technical process or system that generated the evidence in question — to authenticate a social media post.” and that this guidance applies as well to authentication of text messages where there exist similar claims that such evidence could be faked or forged, or where there are questions as to the authorship of the messages if the transmitting electronic device could have been used by more than one person. In this case, the State provided evidence from which the jury could infer that Moss authored the outgoing messages.

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