Culp v. Alabama, CR-13-1039, 2014 WL 6608543 (Ala. Crim. App Nov.21, 2014)

Key Insight: In his appeal of a domestic violence conviction, Culp claimed that emails between himself and the victim were improperly admitted into evidence and were never properly authenticated under Rule 901(b)(4), Ala. R. Evid.. Alabama?s Rule 901(b)(4), which is identical to the federal version, provides that evidence can be authenticated by ?[d]istinctive characteristics and the like,? including ?[a]ppearance, contents, substance, internal patterns, or other distinctive characteristics, taken in conjunction with circumstances.? The court ruled that the emails were properly authenticated because each email contained Culp?s photograph, a screen name that he used, and many of the emails concluded with Culp?s initials. Additionally, the emails contained drug references that were uniquely used by Culp and the victim.

Nature of Case: Criminal

Electronic Data Involved: Email

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