Barely Legally

Confessions of a Moot Court Bailiff

This Is Admissible :(

Jim Dedman, posting from Abnormal Use, points us to Jim Dedman, posting from the North Carolina Law Blog, asking if emoticons can beat the hearsay rule:

Carole Gailor of Raleigh, North Carolina recently spoke at a North Carolina Bar Association conference on the rules of evidence as applied to electronically generated information. […] Ms. Gailor noted that an emoticon might, in fact, assist in the analysis of whether a digital piece of evidence is admissible.

As a preliminary matter, we could turn to Wikipedia or Urban Dictionary or the like to find a formal definition of the term “emoticon.” But that’s not really necessary, is it? But everyone knows that they are the little smiley or frowny faces – or sometimes far more complex textual graphics – utilized by writers on the Internet to convey all sorts of present emotions.

But why bother with a lay definition? A number of courts have already tackled the term.

This is a fun little read; I had no idea 26 court cases have used the word emoticon. Presumably, a court wouldn’t bother to use the word unless the case turned on it.

The rest of the article is a fun thought exercise on why your texting should be as dour as possible. Seriously! :)