Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Pennsylvania Superior Court Addresses Authentication of Social Media Evidence (in a Criminal Case)

In an example of a criminal court case providing law that could become pertinent in a civil litigation matter, in the case of Commonwealth v. Jackson, 2022 Pa. Super 156 (Pa. Super. Sept. 13, 2022 Bowes, J., Lazarus, and Stabile, J.)(Op. by Lazarus, J.), the court found that the prosecution had sufficiently authenticated social media accounts by providing substantial circumstantial evidence linking the accounts to the Defendant in a first degree murder case.

On appeal, the Defendant challenged the admission of the social media evidence under the authentication rules found at Pa.R.E. 901.

According to the Opinion, the prosecution introduced names of accounts that reflected nicknames used by the Defendant. Also provided were biographical sections of the accounts, which were all similar to each other and contained a pin drop location reflecting the place where the Defendant was photographed at times.

The supporting evidence also showed that the information in the accounts was consistent with information in another account that the Defendant admitted that he owned and controlled.   

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

Source:  “Court Summaries.”  By: Timothy L. Clawges. Pennsylvania Bar News (Oct. 10, 2022).

Source of image: Photo by Sara Kurfeb on www.unsplash.com.

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