Delaware Trial Handbook § 19:8. VIDEO RECORDINGS

A contemporaneously recorded video recording may be authenticated as an accurate representation of what was observable upon the television monitor without independent verification that the transmission was accurately reflecting the scene being transmitted. The authentication that is required is that the recording is what it is claimed to be, i.e., a recording of that which appeared on the monitor. The issue of accurate transmission by the television camera itself would be an issue going to the weight to be given to the evidence, not to admissibility.65

A video recording of a scene on a set date and time may not be authenticated as an accurate representation of what was observable on the same date and at the same time in a prior year in the absence of corroborating testimony that the scene on the videotape was similar to the scene in the prior year.66

Although the advent of digital technology has made enhancement and manipulation of video images much simpler, Delaware courts have not yet been faced with the issue of whether and how such technology affects the issue of authentication.67

65. State v. Booker, 547 A.2d 618, 619-20 (Del. Super. 1988).  See also Green v. St. Francis Hospital, Inc., 791 A.2d 731, 739-39 (Del. 2002) (video authenticated by nurse who testified that video accurately depicted scene).

66. Bougouneau v. Causey, C.A. No. 89C-JN-23, slip op. at 4-5, Graves, J. (Del. Super. June 13, 1991).

67.  See Lorraine v. Markel American Ins. Co., 241 F.R.D. 534, 561-62 (D. Md. 2007) (discussing authenticating different categories of digital imagery).  But see Owens v. State, 214 S.W.3d 849, 854 (Ark. 2005) (“we do not agree that this court should impose a higher burden of proof for the admissibility of digital photographs merely because digital images are easier to manipulate”).

© 2010  David L. Finger