The Champion

April 2016 , Page 51 

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Practice Points: Giving Voice to Digital Evidence In the Jury Room

By Lisa J. Steele

Read more Practice Points columns.

The purpose of a demonstrative exhibit is to help the jury determine the facts of the case and reach its verdict. A party introduces physical objects so the jury can see, hear, touch, inspect, and examine them in the privacy of the deliberation room. When a digital exhibit is offered, and the jury is given only the storage medium and not a means to examine it for themselves, the exhibit has failed to serve its purpose.1 If a defendant’s exhibit is muzzled, it can impair the defendant’s constitutional rights to due process, to a fair trial, and to present a defense.

In recent years, Connecticut decided three appeals involving demonstrative defense exhibits that did not go into the jury room.2 In two of the cases, the prosecution offered a recording of the defendant’s interaction with police but the recording was, in essence, a defense exhibit. In the third case, the defense introduced a computer spreadsheet. In each of these three cases, the jury had to return to t

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