1. Free Legal Help, Legal Forms and Lawyers. TheLaw.com has been providing free legal assistance online since 1995. Our most popular destinations for legal help are below. It only takes a minute to join our legal community!

    Dismiss Notice

Use of text messages as evidence

Discussion in 'Other Family Law Matters' started by CJones1969, Aug 23, 2017.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. CJones1969

    CJones1969 Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Jurisdiction:
    Alabama
    I am attempting to get custody of my child in an Alabama court. My ex is attempting to use text messages between my child and my wife as reason why we should not get custody. She claims the texts show that my wife is attempting to influence my child to want to move. My question is this:

    Isn't the full context of a text message necessary to comprehend the exact meaning? A single text conversation or even days worth of text messages is meaningless without previous days conversations which may have been in text or Facebook Messenger or verbal by phone or FaceTime. Without all of that additional information, an outside party's interpretation of a text conversation cannot conclusively prove anything. The additional information has to be provided by the parties involved in that conversation.

    So how can this misrepresentation of the messages by my ex even be admissible?
     
  2. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

    Messages:
    11,482
    Likes Received:
    2,029
    Trophy Points:
    113

    In the event the text messages are considered (which probably isn't very likely), why not provide the rest so that you have the full context you seek?
     
  3. CJones1969

    CJones1969 Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    I went back and pulled everything relevant, but there was often jumping from text to phone or FaceTime and vice versa. Ran out of time in the hearing and we didn't get to respond to her nonsense testimony. Will get to at a future date, but the judge was considering a temporary order. Now he's not answered and the GAL recommended status quo until the final hearing. My child is distraught and school starts next week where I live. It just seems like those shouldn't even be considered.
     
  4. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,529
    Likes Received:
    1,655
    Trophy Points:
    113

    "We"?

    This question is unanswerable in the abstract.

    It certainly can.

    It's not a misrepresentation just because you say it is, but you certainly are free to seek to introduce additional communications that you believe provide necessary context. By the way, I disagree with the statement in the prior response that it "probably isn't very likely" that the messages your ex is seeking to use will be admitted (especially since your follow up post appears to indicate that they were, in fact, admitted). We have no conceivable way of knowing anything about the potential admissibility of evidence that has only been vaguely described in a case we know virtually nothing about.

    I hope you and your wife have learned a lesson about putting things in writing that others might take out of context and which can only be fully contextualized with a large amount of additional writings and testimony.
     
  5. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

    Messages:
    10,526
    Likes Received:
    3,890
    Trophy Points:
    113

    There's no way anybody here can even begin to answer that question except to say that email and text messages ARE admissible under proper circumstances.

    You'll have to do your own legal research.

    The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals addressed the admissibility of emails and text messages in a civil case in 2015 as a follow up to the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals ruling in 2014.

    Here's the case decision. I don't know whether it will help you or not but might give you some tips on challenging the admissibility.

    Google Scholar
     
  6. CJones1969

    CJones1969 Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    What are your qualms with "we"? If I have custody of my child, my child is in our household and part of our family. Legal custody is of course mine, but as my wife is the step-mother and she will be responsible for my child if I am not available, WE will have physical custody. My ex and her husband currently have physical custody of my child.

    How is the question "Isn't the full context of a text message necessary to comprehend the exact meaning" "unanswerable"? Seems pretty common sense that context is necessary for meaning to be clear in any writing. You even appear to admit as much in your final condescending paragraph.

    Strange. My wife isn't supposed to communicate with my child because we have to be worried about my ex wife taking things out of context? Seems nonsensical to me.

    I'm really interested in learning how out of context messages negatively twisted to fit the view of someone who did not participate in the discussion can prove that view by them simply espousing it. Didn't you just tell me that my claiming she is misrepresenting them doesn't mean she is just because I say so? Even though I am privy to the additional context that proves they are misrepresentations?

    I'm not here to argue with someone who seems to want to chastise rather than simply provide some requested information. If you don't care to answer thoughtfully and respectfully, you don't need to respond.

    And if by some chance I am simply over-sensitive due to my aggravation with the recent testimony by my ex, my apologies.
     
  7. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

    Messages:
    34,843
    Likes Received:
    5,968
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Think of this way, mate, what if a person is trying to prove something was said verbally over a series of days?

    People involved in the conversation could have forgotten, misinterpreted, misunderstood, or never heard what others claim to have heard.

    It would certainly be helpful if Jack confirmed what Jill said in a conversation between her and Jason. There are many reasons obvious to Jason why Jack can't recall what was said.

    Have you heard the terms, "lay a predicate" or "lay a foundation"?

    A coroner's report can't be introduced into evidence because it exists.

    First one must have the physician testify who wrote the report to testify that she wrote the report based on an autopsy she performed.

    If you wanted to introduce a photograph showing the defendant and the decedent together it must be authenticated by the photographer.

    Procedurally that's called "laying a predicate" or "laying a foundation".

    If a prosecutor tries to introduce a knife that is alleged to be the murder weapon that has the defendant's and the decedent's blood on it, a defense attorney will stand and say, "Objection, 'lack of foundation', or in some jurisdictions, simply 'objection foundation'.

    The answer is without a proper foundation it shouldn't become evidence.
     
  8. CJones1969

    CJones1969 Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Many thanks. It's really more of an intellectual pursuit as the messages have been admitted because all parties agreed to it.
     
  9. CJones1969

    CJones1969 Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Thanks for that. Very informative.
     
  10. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

    Messages:
    34,843
    Likes Received:
    5,968
    Trophy Points:
    113

    There is no we, legally.

    A step-mother has no legal significance.

    You are a parent or legal guardian.

    Marrying a child's parent conveys no legal significance, insofar as the child is concerned.

    A step-mother or step-father is an honorary term, much like cousin, aunt, or uncle.
     
    leslie82 and CJones1969 like this.
  11. CJones1969

    CJones1969 Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Yes, that makes perfect sense. If my ex died, I'd immediately get physical custody and not her husband.
     
  12. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

    Messages:
    34,843
    Likes Received:
    5,968
    Trophy Points:
    113

    She wouldn't have to die for that to happen, either.

    She could become incapacitated by mental illness, or a dreaded disease.

    She could get arrested and not be able to make bail, or get sentenced to six years in prison, or even 60 days in a county jail.

    She could suddenly become a missing person.
     
  13. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,529
    Likes Received:
    1,655
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Because the answer depends on the specific message under consideration.

    It certainly is nonsensical, and I neither said nor implied any such thing.

    I'm not going to have an abstract discussion with you about this. If you want the specific situation evaluated, have the various communications reviewed by an attorney.

    And, as I already said, if you believe additional communications are necessary to lend context to those your ex is seeking to admit, you are free to seek to admit those additional communications.
     
  14. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

    Messages:
    10,526
    Likes Received:
    3,890
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Whoa. Back up the truck.

    You started this thread by writing:

    Then you asked:

    Now you tell us the messages were admitted because all parties agreed to it.

    Jeez. What a waste of everybody's time this thread is.

    Thread closed for further discussion.
     

Share This Page

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.