3D Printed Injury Exhibits as Persuasive Evidence in Modern Courtrooms

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3D printed evidence of injuries presented in a Courtroom as demonstrative evidence may seem avant-garde. Frankly, nothing seems further from the truth. Presenting 3D printed exhibits in Courtroom should be fairly standard. These are just representation in different format of already proven technologies like MRI’s and CT-scans and the like. We mentioned in previous blogs that 3D printed representations of injuries are already being relied upon by prominent physicians. Indeed, if this is good enough for Medical Doctors, then it should be more than sufficient for Courts to rely upon

As a courtesy to our clients this is an issue we will explore in depth in upcoming blogs. In this blog, we would like to make a comparison to another avant-garde technology which began it use in American Courts back in the 1850’s. This revolutionary technology was called the photograph. Indeed, it was a bit controversial when it first became available in Court Rooms as a form of evidence.

“To put it crudely, judicial response to the photograph brought into existence that category of proof we now know as demonstrative evidence.” The Image of Truth: Photographic Evidence and the Power of Analogy, (Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities, Volume 10, Issue 1).

Before the photograph, legal evidence usually consisted of mostly written documents and testimony. Indeed, the photograph has opened the way for all sorts of new mediums of evidence like x-rays, videos, animation, MRI’s, and CT-scans. Note, that some of the above referenced mediums may come in as substantive evidence. However, our focus here has been on demonstrative use only. In future blogs we will discuss the possibility of use of 3D printed exhibits of injuries being presented for substantive use.

As it stands, it appears that 3D printing proof or exhibits of injuries will become as common as the use of photographs and still images of injuries being presented in Court Rooms today.  It was even understood in the 1850’s that photographic evidence could be more eloquent then words as presented by an “American Photographic Journal…report[ing] that in France, ‘the lawyers are using daguerreotypes as a means of convincing the judge and jury more eloquent than their words.’” Id.

The first case to take up the use of photographic images stated the following:

Under proper precautions in relation to the preliminary proof as to the exactness and accuracy of the copies produced by the art of the photographer, we are unable to perceive any valid objection to the use of such prepared representations. Marcy v. Barnes, 82 Mass. (16 Gray) at 163.

This is very similar to standards for demonstrative evidence in the State of Florida cited in our previous blogs.

The photograph has opened the way and created standards by which Judges admit new types of demonstrative evidence. Our goal is to show that 3D printed evidence is more reliable than photographs and should have no issue being admitted into Courts as demonstrative evidence.