Text Message as evidence

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Text Message as evidence

Postby NJSuperDad » Mon Nov 29, 2010 11:10 am

Fellas,

I have a motion hearing set for December regarding my effort to keep the marital home.

Without going into all the details I simply want to know I how can I show the judge text messages that are on my phone?

I have relevant text messages from the X showing that she wanted to settle this house issue quickly and without having to go back to Court among other things regarding the house.

I plan to simply hand over my phone to the judge to be able to read through any and all relevant text messages as I know the only other way to maintain the time and date of the texts is to subpeona them from Verizon and Verizon now only keeps the past 3 or 4 days and then deletes their cache. Will this work handing my phone to the judge with the message I want him to see cued up?

It seems she now may have changed her mind. Her answer to my motion is due back to me Thursday. Not sure what she is going to say in response.

I know it makes sense to settle and for me to keep the house.

1) Going back to Court (with a lawyer) will cost her more than she would ever get from the sale of the house ($400)
2) I am offering her $4,000 vs $400 that she would get selling it to a stranger.
3) It makes good sense to keep the kids and us as parents living in the same town to best be able to make this whole co-parenting work best.

I have no idea what her arguement to the Court could be other than she wants to stick to the agreement depsite it not being in the best interest of all involved including herself. Why does she want to do that? The only answer I think any normal person could come up with is spite. She doesn't want me to have the house even though she can't keep it herself.

Your thoughts?
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Re: Text Message as evidence

Postby hoosier_dad » Mon Nov 29, 2010 11:31 am

Texts by default are deleted after so many days out your phone, be careful relying on those. I forward ones I want to save to my email account, then print the email message from there. Also if you can switch to Google Voice its much easier to archive those messages for long term use.
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Re: Text Message as evidence

Postby golfdad » Mon Nov 29, 2010 2:33 pm

I have been taking "screen shot" pictures of the NJ's texts. With the Iphone, this saves the text as a picture.

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Re: Text Message as evidence

Postby TXex's » Mon Nov 29, 2010 2:50 pm

What kind of phone do you have?

If you have an Android phone you can use a free app called SMSBackup to sync them all over in threaded form to a special folder in your gmail account. From there you can expand and print the thread. It will also include MMS content as an embedded attachment.

If you have an iPhone, you can sync your phone to iTunes and then use one of several tools to extract the SMS content from that backup. The backup itself is in table form however there are a ton of resources for pulling nice looking information from it including the website http://www.iphone-sms.com/ (hint hint you can use that website to pull the SMS messages from ANY iPhone that has been backed up to that computer's iTunes app)

Finally, you can use a slightly more advanced tool such as Paraben's Device Seizure http://www.paraben.com/ that is used by Law Enforcement if your phone is supported and you have the cable to connect your phone to the computer. The program itself is very expensive but it is available as a full functioning 30 day demo. One other option would be to take your phone to a PI with similar software and ask them if they can do it for you for a very nominal amount.
"...it could be worse news then the fact you're going through divorce -- it could be as bad as you could continue to stay married to the lying screwing sleezebag" Thoughts?
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Re: Text Message as evidence

Postby Bullitt007 » Mon Nov 29, 2010 6:18 pm

I fowarded them to my email account, printed and handed 'em over to my attorney. From there, my attorney included them as "exhibits" to the court.

I had many exhibits, to include letters to the court from neighbors and friends, phone records, daughter's journals, and many emails.
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Re: Text Message as evidence

Postby spritom » Mon Nov 29, 2010 7:15 pm

You would provide two exhibits to the court for your text messages:
* A printed transcript of the text messages
* Proof that the transcription is from your phone

The first part is easy, just print it out. Once the court is satisfied that the transcription is legit, then everybody will just read from that document. And for some courts, this may be enough.

The second part can get you tied up. For many locales, you have to provide the other side with your proof as well as telling the court what your going to present. Sometimes this can be a few weeks in advance. If you just show up in court, then you're at the mercy of the judge as to whether the exhibit will be allowed into evidence. Plus, you don't want to exactly sent your phone over to the other side.

For the second part, the poor-man's version is to put a camcorder on a tripod and slowly display every last text on there to be recorded via video. In addition, you would provide a copy of the cell phone bill to show the texts being sent or received. I think it's ok to redact out non-relevant items on the bill. But if the other attorney is nasty, they might want to challenge the bill and want to see the whole thing, so that's a possibility, even though it's just smoke and mirrors.

So...video, bill, transcript. It's portable, you can submit it to the other side ahead of time, and you can properly introduce the exhibit to the court to be admitted as evidence. Nobody will want to see the video, but if challenged, they'll get bored with it real quick...especially if she's paying an attorney.
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Re: Text Message as evidence

Postby serate » Tue Nov 30, 2010 10:56 am

Are forwarded text messages actually accepted? Once I hit forward, I can change the text message to say anything I want. Heck, if a person REALLY wanted to, he/she could type up a text and make it look like it was a forward from anybody even tho he/she initiated the text. It's not hard at all.
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Re: Text Message as evidence

Postby LOBO3315a » Tue Nov 30, 2010 11:26 am

serate wrote:Are forwarded text messages actually accepted? Once I hit forward, I can change the text message to say anything I want. Heck, if a person REALLY wanted to, he/she could type up a text and make it look like it was a forward from anybody even tho he/she initiated the text. It's not hard at all.


While you can change the message, you can't change the e-mail headers that show the source of where it came from.
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Re: Text Message as evidence

Postby NJSuperDad » Tue Nov 30, 2010 11:35 am

Spritom I think your advice is on the money for my situation as I have a simple cell phone and no real way of doing some of the other suggestions.

I think the transcribed text messages, along with the bill and a DVD should be sufficient for family court anyway.

I just hope the judge sees it the same.

Thanks all for the advice.

I wish to now advocate to the Court to not order parties to use text messages as proof as they had in my case but to instead force all communication in hostile situations to email where an accurate record can be kept of all comm and then be easily submitted to the Court.

Once again thanks all and good luck to all here!
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Re: Text Message as evidence

Postby TXex's » Wed Dec 01, 2010 10:45 pm

NJSuperDad, Something else that can help your argument if you don't want to use text messages is that with a text you have no way to confirm the message was received. If you ask the court to require email with deliver and read receipt than you have confirmation that 1) It was delivered to her email server 2) she opened the message.
"...it could be worse news then the fact you're going through divorce -- it could be as bad as you could continue to stay married to the lying screwing sleezebag" Thoughts?
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