Commercial Litigation and Arbitration

Judicial Notice of Internet Evidence — Time Zones and Coordinated Universal Time from National Weather Service Website and Non-Governmental Site

United States v. Diaz, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56572 (D. Nev. April 23, 2014):

B. The Government's Motion for Judicial Notice of Time Zones [Doc. 146]

The Government moves under Federal Rule of Evidence 201 for judicial notice of Coordinated Universal Time ("UTC"), as it relates to Pacific Standard Time, ("PST") as modified by Daylight Savings Time ("DST"). Doc. 146 at 1. The government claims that some of the phone records it will introduce at trial are entered in UTC, as opposed to PST. Thus, the government seeks judicial notice that (1) UTC is Coordinated Universal Time, (2) that standard times in the United States are offset from UTC by an integral number of hours; that (3) Las Vegas, Nevada is in the PST zone; (4) that Las Vegas, Nevada is UTC -7 during DST and UTC -8 when not in DST; (5) that DST in 2012 in Nevada was observed between March 11 to November 4; and (6) that DST in 2013 was observed in Nevada from March 13 until November 3. Id. at 2. The government supports its argument by introducing an online screenshot from the National Weather Service's National Hurricane Center, which purports to explain what UTC is and how conversions to other time zones operate. Doc. 146-1.

Garcia's  [*13] response objects only to "any attempt by the Government to testify as to phone calls in PST that were converted from UTC before adequate testimony regarding any conversion has been given." Doc. 155 at 1. He claims that "blanket conversions based on judicial notice" that Nevada was UTC -7 during DST does not establish the time at which any phone call took place. See id. Garcia also cautions that he will object to the introduction of the government's summary chart at trial. Id. at 2.

Under Federal Rule of Evidence 201(b)(2), the court may take judicial notice of documents when "a fact is not subject to reasonable dispute because it (1) is generally known within the trial court's territorial jurisdiction; or (2) can be accurately and readily determined from sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned."24 The Court elects to take judicial notice of the fact that Las Vegas is in the PST zone, as well as the dates during which DST was observed in 2012 and 2013, under Rule 201(b)(1) because these are matters within the Court's territorial jurisdiction. As to the government's requests that UTC is Coordinated Universal Time, that standard times in the United States are offset from  [*14] UTC by a number of hours, and Las Vegas, Nevada's particular offsets from UTC during DST, courts routinely take judicial notice of time zones and time zone differences under Rule 201(b)(2).25 Moreover, as the government notes in its brief in support of the motion, numerous trial courts have taken judicial notice of times from the internet website, including for requests to take notice of UTC and its offsets to US Standard Time.26 The Court finds that the accuracy of the information contained at the website, from which comparisons between UTC and PST can be drawn, is capable of ready verification and its accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned. Judicial notice of these three requests is appropriate under Rule 201(b)(2). The government's request for judicial notice is granted as to all six propositions.

24   Fed. R. Evid. 201(b).

25   See, e.g., Papenthien v. Papenthien, 16 F. Supp. 2d 1235, 1241 (S.D. Cal. 1998).

26   See, e.g., Ceglia v. Zuckerberg, 2013 WL 1208558, at *49 (W.D.N.Y. Mar. 26, 2013); Acevado Perez v. United States Government, 899 F. Supp. 2d 90, 102 (D.P.R. 2012); Cline v. City of Mansfield, 745 F. Supp. 2d 773, 800 (N.D. Ohio 2010).

The Court  [*15] notes that Garcia's objection to the government's request is inapplicable because the government has not actually asked the Court to either establish the time of any phone call, or sought to introduce the chart from the National Weather Service into evidence. See Doc. 155 at 2. Since Garcia does not contest any of the government's requests, including the number of hours by which UTC and PST diverge at different times of year, Garcia's objection essentially contests the court's taking "judicial notice" of a basic mathematical operation. The Federal Rules of Evidence "should be construed so as to administer every proceeding fairly, eliminate unjustifiable expense and delay, and promote the development of evidence law, to the end of ascertaining the truth and securing a just determination."27 The Court intends to conduct the upcoming trial so as to eliminate unjustifiable expense and delay, and that objections to the time conversion of every phone call has the potential to unduly delay this trial. The Court will address any objections to the specific time of a phone call as they arise. As those objections are not yet ripe for determination, the government's motion for judicial notice  [*16] [#146] is granted.

27   Fed. R. Evid. 102.

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