Wednesday, November 07, 2012

People v. Franzen (Cal. Ct. App. - Nov. 6, 2012)

Since you're reading something on the Internet, I thought it appropriate to highlight Justice Rushing's contemporary thoughts about this media:

"The Internet contains, or more accurately is connected to and thus capable of conveying, a large and growing part of all of the recordable information in existence. Some of this information is as reliable as any traditional source of information. But some of it would be almost universally considered not only unreliable but extravagantly untrue. If this technology provides the means to store and convey every truth any human has ever articulated, it also has the capability of 'publishing' every misconception, error, delusion, or outright lie anyone has ever set down. The world of print has known its share of infamous frauds, libels, and fantasies packaged as fact, but at least the cost and difficulty of publication has had some tendency to inhibit the circulation of erroneous information. That inhibition has now all but disappeared."
This sentiment underlies the holding in the case.  Which concludes that "published compendium" exception (Evidence Code sect. 1340) to the hearsay rule only applies to "old media" (like printed telephone books and the like) rather than compendia on the world wide web.
At first glance one might tend to write this view off as the rambling of an old fogie who resists and fails to comprehend the significance and wonder of the Internet.  But Justice Rushing does a pretty good job of articulating the various reasons why Section 1340 might indeed best be limited to the types of "hard print" investments prevalent in old (but not new) media.
Check it out and see what you think.
In the meantime, maybe I'll use Justice Rushing's words about the Internet as the informal motto of this blog.  A means of disseminating "[e]very misconception, error, delusion, or outright lie anyone has ever set down."