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Name: People v. Valdez
Case #: G041904
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 12/16/2011
Summary

The requirement of a password to post and delete content on MySpace pages, as well as the consistency of the content on the pages, provides the necessary authentication for introduction of the MySpace pages for corroboration and foundation purposes. As a result of his involvement in two shooting incidents, appellant was charged with and convicted of numerous substantive offenses and gang enhancements. On appeal, he contended that the introduction of MySpace pages, as corroboration of a witness’ statement that he recognized appellant, and as foundation for the gang expert’s testimony, was error as the evidence had not been authenticated. The appellate court rejected the contention, finding that the prosecution met its initial burden of authentication to support its claim that the MySpace site belonged to appellant and that the entries were not falsified. Evidence that a password was required for posting and deleting content to the site suggested that appellant controlled the posted material, such that the trier of fact could reasonably conclude the proffered MySpace writing was authentic. The site contained a photograph of appellant forming a gang sign, greetings addressing him by name, and his stated interests in gangs. The evidence also did not violate the rule against hearsay as it was not offered for the truth, and the jury was so instructed. Lastly, it was not more prejudicial than probative because the fact that the evidence reflected negatively on appellant was not grounds for exclusion.