Email/Text Admissibility — Authentication by Sender of Her Messages + Testimony They Were Sent to Recipient’s Address and Replies Were Consistent with Recipient’s Writing Style

State v. Womack, 2014 Wash. App. LEXIS 2566 (Wash. Ct. App. Oct. 21, 2014):

N. Additional Ground 23 (Admission of E-mails)

Womack claims the trial court erred by allowing the State to admit a copy of an e-mail between AW and Womack and allowing Voelker to testify that he received a copy of two e-mails during the course of his investigation.

To admit evidence, the proponent of the evidence must authenticate it. ER 901(a). To do so, the proponent must introduce "'evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what its proponent claims.'" State v. Bradford, 175 Wn. App. 912, 928, 308 P.3d 736 (2013) (quoting ER 901(a)), review denied, 179 Wn.2d 1010 (2014). At trial, AW testified [*50]  that she had e-mailed her father telling him to run because she had reported the abuse. When shown a copy of the e-mails, she testified they were the ones she had sent to Womack's address and that the replies were consistent with Womack's writing style and that no one other than Womack had ever written her from that address. AW sufficiently authenticated the e-mails, and Womack's claims went to their weight, not their admissibility. There was no abuse of discretion in admitting the e-mails. Bradford, 175 Wn. App. at 927. Womack's ER 901 claim about the e-mails Voelker obtained fails because the State did not admit those e-mails, nor did Voelker discuss their contents.

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