Did You Count How Many Steps it was to Jail?
Written by Moses & Rooth on September 22, 2015
Fitbits are all the rage as our culture continues to obsess over health. However, lately health benefits are not the only time that fitbits seem to be useful. For those of you who are not up to date on the newest technologies, fitbits are a bracelet that a person wears to track how many steps they take and their sleep patterns. Recently, fitbits have been showing up in courtrooms to both support and refute claims against a person.
The Tech Savvy Expert Witness
Numerous news sources including The Atlantic have posted articles on how fitbits are becoming a new type of expert witness. In general, not all brands of tracking devices are the same and each one has a different component in which they specialize, which would suggest that the information that is available might not be reliable. However, companies that specialize in these devices have begun to create a standard to which others’ information can be compared.
Some would say that the fitbit is like other tracking devices used in courts including GPS devices and other devices that police use. However, unlike devices used by law enforcement agents, fitbits are used to track personal information intended to help live a healthy lifestyle. Thus, it begs the question of whether a person who is forced to turn over his or her fitbit in a court of law is incriminating him or herself.
Constitutional Questions Posed by Fitbits
If fitbits were to become the new expert witness, it begs to question whether it would be constitutional to allow fitbits in criminal court cases. According to the Fifth Amendment a person cannot incriminate him or herself, while the Sixth Amendment allows criminal defendants to know the identities of their accusers. If a court were to subpoena the records from a person’s fitbit, would this lead to the person incriminating him or herself? In a criminal case the defendant has the right to refute the claim of a witness through cross-examination. In the case of a fitbit, cross-examination would not be possible. An attorney could provide information showing that the fitbit was unreliable; however, it could not question the fitbit as to whether the information was correct.
Although fitbits may have the ability to keep a person out of jail by helping to display that person’s innocence, it could also have the negative effect of sending them to jail. Fitbits and the law will continue to be a hot topic in the legal field.
Are You Afraid Your Fitbit Has Counted More Than Your Steps?
If you think that your fitbit could be used in a criminal case against you, do not discard of your fitbit. You do not want to receive additional charges for tampering with evidence. Our attorneys at Moses & Rooth are available to review your case. To contact us for your free consultation, please do not hesitate to call our firm at 407-377-0150.