Pennsylvania: Issues with Authenticating Text Messages in Court

The American Bar Association Journal wrote an interesting article last week about a Pennsylvania Appeals Court decision.  The Pennsylvania Appeals Court overturned a drug conviction within the trial court because the text messages that implicated the female defendant were deemed inadmissible hearsay.  The court reasoned that the sender of the text messages could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.  Furthermore, the weight of the text messaging evidence was high and the prosecution relied heavily on the messages to prove guilt.

Notably, this does not appear to place a complete ban on text messaging evidence.  Instead, if the prosecutor can authenticate the text messages or if they can provide enough corroborating evidence to reveal the identity of the text message sender, then it appears the court may admit the text messaging evidence.

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