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Name: People v. Beckley
Case #: B212529
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 06/09/2010

Because a depiction downloaded from a home page on the internet website MySpace is a “writing” its introduction as evidence is dependent on its authentication. Appellant and his codefendant were charged with murder and attempted murder and a gang-related enhancement. Beckley testified that he had left the gang and had an alibi. Witness Fulmore testified that appellant babysat her daughter on the date of the killing and that she did not associate with gang members and that she had told Beckley he must stop running with the gang. But, the prosecution introduced a photograph purportedly showing Fulmore flashing the gang sign and a roster of the gang, including the names of Beckley and his codefendant. The investigating detective testified that he downloaded the photograph from Beckley’s home page on MySpace and the roster was printed from the internet. The appellate court found error as both items were “writings” that, under Evidence Code sections 250 and 1401, subdivision (a), must be authenticated. Authentication can be provided by testimony of a person present when the item was made or by the aid of expert testimony. Neither was presented here. But, in view of the total evidence, the error was harmless and defendant’s and co-defendant’s convictions were affirmed.