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Evidence—Machine Produced Video Not Hearsay

Posted by Ted A. Schmidt | Jul 14, 2020 | 0 Comments

Evidence—Machine Produced Video Not Hearsay

State v. Stuebe, No. 1CA-CR 19-0032 (App. Div. I, June 30, 2020) (J. Morse) https://www.azcourts.gov/Portals/0/OpinionFiles/Div1/2020/CA-CR%2019-0032%20State%20v%20Stuebe%20OP%20-%20FINAL.pdf

AUTOMATED E-MAIL & MACHINE PRODUCED VIDEO NOT HEARSAY BECAUSE NOT MADE BY A PERSON

The defendant was convicted of burglary. He appealed contesting the admission into evidence of an  automated computer generated and dated e-mail and attached video sent by the surveillance system at the establishment burglarized to the building owner when a motion sensor security camera was activated. The Arizona Court of Appeals affirmed in part and vacated in part. 

Ariz. R. Evid. 801(a) precludes the admission of out of court statements made by “a person.” The Rules of Evidence do not define “person.” Reviewing various statutory and dictionary definitions, the court found “person” to be a “human being” or “corporation, company, partnership, firm, association or society or natural person.” 

“[T]he motion-activated security camera automatically recorded the video after a sensor triggered. The automated security system then produced an email and immediately sent it to the property manager. No ‘person' was involved in the creation or dissemination of either. . . Because the email and video were ‘machine produced,' they were not made by a ‘person' and are not hearsay.”

Finally, the Sixth Amendment Confrontation Clause was not violated because the primary purpose of the e-mail and video was not to “create an out-of-court substitute for trial testimony.”

About the Author

Ted A. Schmidt

Ted's early career as a trial attorney began on the other side of the fence, in the offices of a major insurance defense firm. It was there that Ted acquired the experience, the skills and the special insight into defense strategy that have served him so well in the field of personal injury law. Notable among his successful verdicts was the landmark Sparks vs. Republic National Life Insurance Company case, a $4.5 million award to Ted's client. To this day, it is the defining case for insurance bad faith, and yet it is only one of several other multi-million dollar jury judgments won by Ted during his career. He is certified by the State Bar of Arizona as a specialist in "wrongful death and bodily injury litigation".

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