Case Study

2321 WordsSep 2, 201310 Pages
Photographs were being submitted as evidence in court cases in the United States as early as the mid 1800’s. They were used even earlier in some European courts. When photographs are properly verified they are admissible as evidence in court. Photos, videos, digital photos, and x-rays are used in many different types of court cases from criminal to civil cases. Photographs can disprove or prove a resemblance between people if there is an issue about the identity of the defendant. They can illustrate and make clearer the testimony of handwriting experts. They can show the scene of an accident or crime and allow the jury to have a clearer understanding of the layout of the scene. In State v. Miller, 43 Ore. 325 (1903) the Court stated, "Generally, they may be used to identify persons, places, and things; to exhibit particular locations or objects where it is important that the jury should have a clear idea thereof, and the situation may thus be better indicated than by testimony of witnesses, or where they will conduce to a better or clearer understanding of such testimony. They may also be employed to detect forgeries, and to prove documents where the original cannot be readily produced." The Court decided that a photograph could influence a jury if it showed "a gruesome spectacle of a disfigured and mangled corpse." Due to this these photographs were excluded as evidence in the appeal because they impressed upon the minds of the jury "the mental and physical suffering of the plaintiff." State v. Miller, 43 Oregon 325 (1903) p. 329 Due to the gruesome autopsy photo of the victim this case is often cited to show the admissibility or inadmissibility of photography at a murder trial. Autopsy photos are often shown at trials to either identify the victim or to help solidify the point that the victim is deceased and many times to show the brutality of

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