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Name: People v. Dawkins
Case #: B245611
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 10/20/2014

9-1-1 recording of call made by anonymous person reporting burglary in progress is properly authenticated by witness with knowledge of the computer system. Dawkins was convicted of first degree burglary. A strike prior and prison term enhancement were found true. At trial, the court admitted a 9-1-1 call by an unknown person reporting the burglary and describing the suspect. The trial court found the audio recording fell within the business records and spontaneous statement exceptions to the hearsay rule. On appeal Dawkins challenged the admission of a 9-1-1 recording, arguing that it was not properly authenticated. Held: Affirmed. Audio recordings are writings (Evid. Code, § 250) which must be relevant and authenticated (Evid. Code, §§ 350, 1401) to be admissible. Such evidence is “typically authenticated by showing it is a reasonable representation of that which it is alleged to portray.” “Computer systems that automatically record data in real time” especially government computers, such as the one recording the 9-1-1 call, are presumed to be accurate. Thus, a witness who has adequate knowledge of the system may testify as to his use of the system; the witness need not be a party to the conversation. Here, the investigating officer’s testimony regarding the manner in which he accessed the data was sufficient to authenticate the recording. Even if the trial court conflated the issues of hearsay and authentication, reversal is not required because “a ruling or decision, itself correct in law, will not be disturbed on appeal merely because given for a wrong reason.”