February 24, 2020 Articles

On the Fundamentals of Authentication

A (very) brief treatise on techniques for authenticating digital evidence.

By Michael Roundy

Particularly in this digital age, parties collect in the course of discovery an avalanche of documents. In the pretrial phase, it may become almost instinctive in litigation attorneys to recognize, analyze, and strategize about the relevance of the information contained in the documents or how to get around hearsay limitations. But a related evidentiary requirement often may be overlooked until trial is upon us: how do we authenticate the document? It isn’t enough that the document is relevant or that there is some applicable exception to the hearsay rule. It must be authenticated before the court may properly allow it into evidence. 

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