Tuesday, June 25, 2013

eHearsay You Say?

The law is constantly trying to keep up with technology. Technology changes at such a rapid pace, and the law, well, does not. With the advent of social media and real-time updates, William & Mary Law professor Jeffrey Bellin proposes a new eHearsay rule to help accommodate the unreliable witness.


From the abstract of William & Mary Law prof Jeffrey Bellin's eHearsay article [SSRN] (Minnesota Law Review, Vol. 98, 2013):

"This Article proposes a new “eHearsay” rule of evidence that will permit the admission, over a hearsay objection, of a broad spectrum of electronic out-of-court communications. The proposal builds on prior hearsay reform proposals, and also takes advantage of the fact that electronic statements are invariably recorded. Litigants’ ability to show jurors actual text messages, Facebook “status updates” and Twitter “tweets” authored by percipient witnesses shortly after a disputed event and prior to litigation makes these out-of-court statements compelling vehicles to liberalize the much-maligned American hearsay prohibition. In fact, the new communication norm of generating real-time observations in recorded text messages and social media posts could – in concert with the proposed hearsay exception – transform American litigation’s longstanding struggle with uncooperative, unavailable and forgetful witnesses."

Law Librarian Blog: A New eHearsay Rule of Evidence? 

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