From: Charles on

"Savageduck" <savageduck1@{REMOVESPAM}me.com> wrote in message
news:2010021208235735001-savageduck1(a)REMOVESPAMmecom...
> On 2010-02-12 07:36:10 -0800, Andrew Haley
> <andrew29(a)littlepinkcloud.invalid> said:
>

> However the problem regarding photographic evidence does not come from
> digital photographs taken to record a crime scene, or for making a
> forensic analysis. It comes when third party images are introduced as
> evidence. The phone camera shot taken by a passer-by for example. These
> are frequently presented for admission as evidence and are easily
> challenged at many different levels. In these cases there is no chain of
> evidence, there is no digital authentication, they are as valid as
> hearsay.
> Occasionally, as in the case of the current BART cop shooting trial where
> there are multiple camera phone still and video images of the shooting
> from different angles, from the train and in the station, they are good
> evidence and unimpeachable.

Thanks SD. That added a lot to the discussion.


From: Peter on
"Savageduck" <savageduck1@{REMOVESPAM}me.com> wrote in message
news:2010021208235735001-savageduck1(a)REMOVESPAMmecom...

> The opposing side is always free to challenge any evidence be it
> photograph, blood splatter, DNA, etc. and a broken chain of evidence for
> any item of evidence will open the window to claim tampering, or
> contamination.
>
> The other thing to consider is the art of the Court Room theater, where
> sowing the seeds of doubt regarding a piece of evidence is sufficient to
> influence a gullible jury, even if the evidence presented is untampered
> with and valid.
>

A good judge will weigh evidentiary value vs. prejudicial potential.
Unfortunately, sometimes judges do bow to political influences.


--
Peter

From: Savageduck on
On 2010-02-12 17:47:33 -0800, "Peter" <peternew(a)nospamoptonline.net> said:

> "Savageduck" <savageduck1@{REMOVESPAM}me.com> wrote in message
> news:2010021208235735001-savageduck1(a)REMOVESPAMmecom...
>
>> The opposing side is always free to challenge any evidence be it
>> photograph, blood splatter, DNA, etc. and a broken chain of evidence
>> for any item of evidence will open the window to claim tampering, or
>> contamination.
>>
>> The other thing to consider is the art of the Court Room theater, where
>> sowing the seeds of doubt regarding a piece of evidence is sufficient
>> to influence a gullible jury, even if the evidence presented is
>> untampered with and valid.
>>
>
> A good judge will weigh evidentiary value vs. prejudicial potential.
> Unfortunately, sometimes judges do bow to political influences.

Especially certain members of our Supreme Court.

--
Regards,

Savageduck

From: Michael Benveniste on
On Fri, 12 Feb 2010 08:23:57 -0800, Savageduck wrote:

> Correct.
> However the problem regarding photographic evidence does not come from
> digital photographs taken to record a crime scene, or for making a
> forensic analysis. It comes when third party images are introduced as
> evidence. The phone camera shot taken by a passer-by for example. These
> are frequently presented for admission as evidence and are easily
> challenged at many different levels. In these cases there is no chain of
> evidence, there is no digital authentication, they are as valid as
> hearsay.

Not so. Whether it's a professional photographer or a cell-phone
snap, the same rule applies. All you have to do is call the third
party and lay the foundation that I outlined earlier. Jurors will
often give more credibility to the bystander's photograph than one
taken by the police, because they assume bystanders are neutral
parties.

Nor is a photograph a legal statement, so it can not be hearsay.
Under the FRCP, they are covered under Article X, not article VIII.

> Maintaining a chain of evidence for all physical evidence is more than
> potentially useful, it is essential. Without establishing, or breaking
> the chain of evidence, any physical evidence is subject to impeachment.

The point that you are both missing is that in general photographs
are considered documentary and/or illustrative evidence and _not_
physical evidence.

http://www.llrmi.com/articles/legal_questions/4-apr08.shtml

With blood spatter or other physical samples, you need the actual
physical sample that was collected. Not so with documentary
evidence. At worst, all you need to do is produce an "original
document," and for electronically stored data the legal definition
of an original has evolved to the point where it's almost
meaningless.

> The opposing side is always free to challenge any evidence be it
> photograph, blood splatter, DNA, etc. and a broken chain of evidence for
> any item of evidence will open the window to claim tampering, or
> contamination.

They are free to challenge it as long as they have a good faith basis
for doing so. But the evidence is in, along with the testimony that
the photo, _as it exists in court_ is a fair and accurate representation.
So effectively, they have to convince the jury not just that the
photograph was altered, but that the witness was lying on the stand.
Tough job.

> The other thing to consider is the art of the Court Room theater, where
> sowing the seeds of doubt regarding a piece of evidence is sufficient to
> influence a gullible jury, even if the evidence presented is untampered
> with and valid.

If I was trying to impeach a photograph introduced as evidence, I'd
_love_ for you to try to establish a chain of custody for just this
reason. Each witness you call gives me another chance to plant
seeds of doubt through repetition in cross-examination.

Q: Isn't it true that you weren't there when this photo was taken?
A: Yes.
Q: So if was inaccurate or unfair you wouldn't be able to tell,
correct?
A: Yes.
.... etc.

--
Mike Benveniste -- mhb(a)murkyether.com (Clarification Required)
Its name is Public opinion. It is held in reverence. It settles
everything. Some think it is the voice of God. -- Mark Twain
From: Ray Fischer on
Michael Benveniste <mhb(a)murkyether.com> wrote:
>On Fri, 12 Feb 2010 20:32:57 -0800, Savageduck wrote:
>
>> Crime scene and forensic photographs collected by qualified
>> photographers and recorded according to procedure, are far more telling
>> as evidence. This is because a chain of evidence can be demonstrated,
>> and when presented in correct sequence demonstrate a far broader picture
>> of the total crime scene and other evidence in that contained area.
>
>I think we'd better agree to disagree on this one. Police photographers
>are still police, making it easier for the defense to assert bias in
>favor of the prosecution or motive for altering the shot. The question is
>one of believability, not one of detail.

Claims by the defense that the police are corrupt seldom go over very
well with juries.

--
Ray Fischer
rfischer(a)sonic.net