Thursday, June 18, 2015

US v. Lizarraga-Tirado, No. 13-10530 (6-18-15)(Kozinski with Graber and Ponsor, Sr. D.J.). This is an interesting evidence issue: Is a Google map hearsay? The 9th holds "no".

The appeal arises from a conviction from a 1326, illegal reentry. The defendant argued that he was waiting to cross, but was on the Mexican side of the border, at night, and the agents accidentally crossed the border to arrest him. The agents countered that they were in the U.S. One agent put in the GPS coordinates upon arrest with a handheld GPS device. At trial, a Google satellite image map was introduced, with the tack marking the spot.

Surprisingly, this has never been an issue. It was here. The 9th found that neither the map nor the "tack" were hearsay. The analogy is to a photo. The map was an image; it made no assertion. The "tack" likewise was an image; it was not asserting anything.

The map, image and tack could be attacked as erroneous, but that fell to authentication. An authentication objection was not raised.

The conviction was affirmed.



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