Wednesday, July 05, 2017

On the Commonwealth's use of text messages and tweets

In Atkins v. Com., the Court of Appeals of Virginia in an opinion by Judge Decker joined by Judes Humphreys and O'Brien affirmed the defendant's convictions, where he objected that the Commonwealth had failed to lay a sufficient foundation to support the admission into evidence of text messages and a tweet from his phone. In a footnote, Judge Decker explained what is a "tweet." In the case, the appellant "admitted that the passcode-protected phone from which the tweet and text messages were sent was his phone." Unanswered by this opinion is what happens when the suspect denies that the phone is his, or refuses to give up the password.