The Case of the Hidden Camera

 

Action for alleged conversion of negotiable bearer bonds. M.O.: rifling P's safe in the wall of her study by turning the combination lock.

At trial, P is the first witness. She testifies that during May she noticed that cash and jewels were apparently being pilfered from her safe. On June 1 she engaged a Pinkerton's detective to install a hidden camera in the wall of her study that would be triggered by the opening of the safe and that would clandestinely take a picture of whoever was opening the safe. P further testified that on June 1, when the camera was installed, 100,000 Big Mac bonds were safely ensconced in her safe and that she did not open the safe thereafter until June 15. P further testifies that on June 15 she noticed that the camera had been triggered. When she opened the safe, the bonds were missing. P removed the film from the camera and turned it over to Pinkerton's. The Pinkerton's detective was the next witness. She testified to her expertise and experience with the camera, the operation of the camera and the triggering mechanism, the development of the film, and the chain of custody of the film. The detective then identified a print of the photograph taken by the camera as Plaintiff's Exhibit A for identification. It is a photograph of D. P offered this exhibit into evidence.

Is Exhibit A admissible? Should it be? What basis of proof should suffice for admission of photographs generally when no witness can sponsor the photograph?



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