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ATTORNEYS AND CLIENTS SHOULD PROTECT THEMSELVES WHEN OBTAINING ELECTRONIC EVIDENCE

The world of technology is changing at break-neck speed and the laws regarding the legality of obtaining evidence through technology are emerging and changing at a much slower pace. The result is that the obtaining and use of evidence through technology is a dangerous area. We simply cannot be sure what is legal or not and what is admissible or not. Clients who obtain evidence illegally can face the refusal of the Court to allow the evidence–or the evidence obtained from it–into evidence. Clients and Attorneys can also be held liable on both a civil and criminal basis for using illegally obtained evidence.

Therefore, we have put in place a policy to advise clients that they are not to provide Chinn & Associates with evidence obtained in the following manner, without disclosing accurately how the evidence was obtained:
 
  • E-mail or texts where the client was not provided the password protector by the user. This is true even if the client was able to guess the password. (Note: if there is no password protection, the evidence is legal.)
  • Unopened emails, even if not password protected.
  • Evidence of any kind from a computer which is stored in a password-protected place where the password has not been voluntarily provided to the client.
  • Evidence obtained by faking a facebook page personality.
  • Evidence obtained off of a computer by a technology company without consent or court order.
  • Unprotected communications of any kind, whether letter, email or text, between a lawyer and opposing party.
  • GPS spyware data obtained from a cell phone without the knowledge or consent of the other person.
  • Evidence obtained from a computer through the use of “keystroke” software.