Wednesday, June 11, 2014


People v. Goldsmith, No. S201443 (Cal. June 5, 2014)

In a unanimous opinion in a criminal appeal of a $450 red light camera ticket, Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye explains in detail the Evidence Code’s law regarding the authentication of photographs. Suffice it to say, you really don’t need very much to authenticate a photo. Here, authentication was satisfied in part by a statutory presumption from Evidence Code §§ 1552 and 1553, which say that a printout of stored digital image is an accurate depiction of the recorded image. Along with some testimony from a police investigator about where the camera was located and how the red light camera system operated to connect the remaining dots, that’s all that was needed. The court also rejects the defendant’s argument that the photograph was hearsay, based on the relevant definitions in the Evidence Code. Viz: To be hearsay, evidence needs to be in the form of a statement. § 1200(a)(defining of hearsay). A statement can only be made by a person. § 225 (defining statement). And a computerized camera is not a person. § 175 (defining person).


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