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Name: People v. Borzakian
Case #: B229748
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 02/10/2012
Subsequent History: Rev. granted 5/9/12 (S201474)
Summary

Police officer was unqualified to authenticate computer generated evidence (red light camera) where the city contracted with private company to service and maintain automated system. Appellant received a ticket generated by a red light camera at a Beverly Hills intersection. Her motion to exclude the automated computer-generated photographic evidence and maintenance logs was denied and she was found guilty. On appeal, appellant challenged admission of the evidence based on lack of foundation, hearsay, and under Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts (2009) 557 U.S. 305. Reversed. To lay the foundation for a business record (Evid. Code, § 1271), the custodian of records or a person with adequate knowledge of the record keeping procedures may be called. Photographs are “writings” (Evid. Code, § 250), and must be authenticated by evidence which shows the document is accurate and relevant. Here, the city contracted with a private company to maintain and service its red light cameras. The officer relied on data printed on the photographs to testify as to the contents of the photographs, but was not otherwise qualified to testify that the representation was accurate. The presumptions in Evidence Code sections 1552 and 1553 (that printed representations of computer data are presumed to be an accurate representation of computer information) establishes that the computer’s print function is operating properly; it does not establish that the printed information is reliable or accurate. Upon objection, the proponent of the evidence must provide foundational evidence that the computer was functioning properly. Further, section 1271 requires the proponent of evidence to establish the identity of the record and its mode of preparation. That did not occur here. The computer generated evidence was inadmissible and without it, the evidence insufficient.