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Tienda v. State

358 S.W.3d 633 (2012)

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Tienda v. State

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

358 S.W.3d 633 (2012)

Facts

Ronnie Tienda Jr. (defendant) was charged with shooting David Valadez and others after an altercation at a nightclub. At trial, the government (plaintiff) sought to introduce evidence of three MySpace accounts and the webpages and electronic messages associated with those accounts. The government claimed that Tienda had authored the pages and the messages, which provided details about the shootings. The government sought to authenticate the social-media webpages by showing that they contained pictures of Tienda, referred to the author wearing an ankle monitor during the time Tienda had been wearing one, used names and email addresses that matched Tienda’s known nicknames, referred to the author living in Dallas, which was where Tienda lived, referred to the gang associated with Tienda, and referred to Valadez’s death and funeral. The trial court found that this evidence was enough to allow a reasonable jury to decide that the social-media account, webpages, and electronic messages had been authored by Tienda. Once the evidence was sufficiently authenticated, it was admitted as probable statements by Tienda. Tienda was convicted and appealed, arguing that the social-media evidence should have been excluded because the government had not fully proven that he was the one responsible for creating that evidence.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Price, J.)

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