Four reasons text messages require expert witnesses
Domestic violence cases often involve evidence revolving around text messaging, and cases with text messages require expert witnesses. These messages are usually between the alleged victim and suspect. Most police investigators do not collect text evidence correctly. This leaves holes in their case against a defendant. When defending such a case, we will often require an expert witness for the proper collection of text evidence. This will show the evidence cannot be trusted at trial.
An expert forensic phone investigator is able to perform an evaluation to determine whether a text is a legitimate text, sent through an online network. Without this evaluation, testimony about text evidence is mostly guesswork. An accurate analogy would be testifying to the blood type or DNA of a blood sample after looking at a photograph of the blood sample. No one would believe such a blood analysis, and without the right expert, people might believe text evidence when they should not.
1. Fake Texting Screenshot Applications – Expert witness required
Many people think taking a screenshot of the text messaging application is a valid way to preserve text evidence. This is wrong for many reasons. Many online fake texting screenshot generators exist. Here is a crude example of a fake screenshot generated by such a service:
2. Fake Texting Applications (Text messages require expert witnesses)
Fake texting applications are applications that run on a phone, and allow customization to show network, battery life, contact name, and contact phone number. They also allow the user to create an entire conversation, down to the color of the text message “bubbles.” Importantly, once configured, these fake texting applications will operate like a real texting app. Photographs or videos of these fake texting apps will look and operate like the real thing. The untrained eye will be convinced they are real, including patrol officers investigating a domestic violence allegation.
Google search for “fake texting apps” will show many ways to fool the untrained eye.
3. Fake Text Injection Applications (Text messages require expert witnesses)
A fake text injection application has the ability to “inject” a fake text into a real texting application. If examined properly, these texts will lack any authenticating information (metadata) such as all the header and footer information containing network identification showing it as a real text message. Again, the untrained eye will see what looks like a real text. An expert forensic witness will be able to prove it as a fake.
4. Online Text Spoofing Services (Text messages require expert witnesses)
Many online services exist that can fake a text from a specific phone number. To a trained forensic investigator, these texts will also have conflicting network information “under the hood” to disprove it as a real text message from the intended victim’s mobile phone.
If your case involves text message evidence, we will almost certainly recommend a forensic computer expert witness to be able to attack the fraudulent evidence being used to wrongly convict you. Also remember basic considerations about domestic violence cases. Remember that most cases with text messages require expert witnesses.