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How text messages can help or hurt a defense case in Mississippi

On Behalf of | Apr 17, 2024 | Criminal Law |

Text messages are a major form of communication. For example, their significance extends beyond casual conversations.

In Mississippi, text messages can play a pivotal role in both aiding and undermining a defense case.

The power of texts

About 97% of Americans have a cellphone, and many people text. These messages can sway the opinions of judges and juries. Texts provide a written record of conversations. They offer insight into the intentions and actions of individuals in a case. Whether showing a heated argument or a series of incriminating exchanges, text messages can shed light on key aspects of a case.

Alibis and testimonies

In some instances, text messages can serve as valuable tools in supporting alibis and testimonies. For example, say a defendant claims to have been at a specific location during the time of an alleged crime. Text messages exchanged during that period can corroborate the story. Similarly, messages from witnesses or acquaintances can provide additional context or support to the defense’s version of events.

Contradictions and inconsistencies

On the flip side, text messages can expose contradictions and inconsistencies in a defense case. A seemingly innocuous conversation may contain details that contradict the defendant’s statements or alibi. Additionally, messages that suggest premeditation or involvement in illegal activities can damage a defense’s position.

Credibility and perception

The content of text messages can heavily influence how judges, juries and the public see the defense. Messages that show the defendant in a negative light or reveal questionable behavior can erode trust and sympathy. This makes it harder to mount a successful defense. Conversely, texts that show defendants in a positive or sympathetic way can humanize them and potentially sway opinions in their favor.

Attorneys must analyze each message and consider its relevance, authenticity and potential impact on the case. They must also address any challenges to the admissibility or interpretation of text messages raised by opposing counsel.

Text messages can wield considerable influence, underscoring the importance of preparation and strategic decisions.