When dealing with court matters, evidence is important. When it comes to cases regarding civil matters or family matters such as divorce, often a portion of the evidence is in the form of written documents and messages but what is the law? A text is great proof to you and others outside of courts but what about inside the courtroom? Can a text or email message really make a difference in your case and will the judge even allow it as evidence?
What if someone who hit you with their car admits to it in a text but denies it in court? What if your spouse promised you the house in the divorce via text but then changed his or her mind? Texts and emails as well as other communications online are called ESI or electronically stored information. Is this type of evidence is admissible in court? It depends. Is it relevant to the case? Is it testimonial evidence or protected under the Confrontation Clause of the 6th amendment? If the court decides that these messages are applicable to the case and that they are not protected under this amendment, the messages may be admissible in a court as evidence.
These are just a few of the things you may need to consider however when it comes to whether or not this type of ESI is admissible or not including how you got the information, was it information to you directly or is it second hand? Was it obtained legally or was it coerced? Is it subject to privacy rights and can you prove that it is authentic? You and your lawyer will need to consider:
- Is the evidence relevant to your case?
- Is it authentic and can it be proven to be authentic?
- Is it second hand information or given to you directly?
- Is it the best evidence?
In Michigan, the validity of text messages or ESI can go either way. Each case is unique and each circumstance different from another. The court and the judge in your case, will ultimately determine what is admissible and what is not. If you are dealing with a case and have questions relating to evidence and its admissibility, the best way to ensure a positive outcome is by hiring an attorney who is familiar with these and others laws in Michigan.
Harris Law is a Northern Michigan attorney who focuses on a variety of specialties including family law and divorce, criminal law and estate planning. We understand that you have your own personal questions and concerns as it relates to your case and are here to help you feel more comfortable and obtain the best outcome.