Evidence | Jury Question
I was recently observing a jury trial and there was a jury question about evidence and I thought it was very interesting. After the jury went to deliberate, the jury asked to see three pictures from the scene and two maps from google on which two of the police witnesses had drawn. The lawyers made argument over what the jury got to see, but the judge only sent the pictures back to the jury not the maps. Can you explain the judge’s ruling under the rules of evidence?
If the pictures were taken by a witness who testified in the case (a detective), the witness said that he took the pictures on the night of the alleged crimes, and he said the pictures were a fair and accurate representation of the crime scene, the pictures were properly authenticated by the witness. As long as the DA moved the pictures into evidence at the close of their case, the pictures can go back to the jury. The judge made the right call under the rules of evidence.
If the witnesses drew on the maps, the actual drawing on the maps is testimonial evidence. That means its the same as a statement or actual testimony of the witness. The jury has to use their memory to reflect that evidence and the maps should not go back. Some judges may allow a clean copy of the map to go back to the jury, but the judge should not allow the maps with drawings on them to go back. Seems like the judge was two for two.