Whether 3D printed evidence is admissible in Court depends on the intended use. That is, whether the 3D printed evidence will be used for demonstrative or substantive means. However, here we will focus on demonstrative evidence.
Demonstrative evidence is admissible when a witness with knowledge demonstrates or relays that the evidence portrays the subject in accurate manner and is relevant to the case at hand. Rule 403 must be satisfied in that the probative value does not outweigh the danger of unfair prejudice or lead to confusion of the issue.
Florida in particular states the following about demonstrative exhibits:
Before a demonstrative exhibit will be allowed to be shown to the Jury, it must first be established by a witness that the model is a reasonably exact reproduction or replica of the object involve, that when viewed by the jury it causes them to see substantially the same object or scene as the original in question. Alston v. Shiver, 105 So.2d 785, 791 (Fla. 1958).
In other words, “[a] demonstrative exhibit must constitute an accurate and reasonable reproduction of the objects or matters involved in the case.” Brown v. State of Florida, 557 So.2d 527 (Fla 1st DCA 1989).
Florida Rule of Evidence 90.901 states:
Requirement of authentication or identification.–Authentication or identification of evidence is required as a condition precedent to its admissibility. The requirements of this section are satisfied by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what its proponent claims.
Meaning that “a witness intending or using an exhibit as an aid should first explain that the use or the exhibit will facilitate the presentation or the testimony to the Jury.” Brown v. State of Florida, 557 So.2d 527 (Fla 1st DCA 1989).
At least in Florida, if the reproduction is reasonably exact, then it will most likely be admissible. Therefore, there should be no issue with the admissibility of 3D printed evidence of injuries. 3D printed exhibits are generated using data from MRI’s and CT-scans. 3D printed evidence is produced from these data and then converted into a readable file for a 3D printer to produce. In other words, MRI’s and CT-scans already produce images that have sufficient data to produce a 3D image. However, when these images are viewed in a 2D format they become difficult to understand.
The 3D printed evidence produced from data coming from an MRI or CT-scan is more accurate than anything that can be produced by other means. It is an exact replica of the injury involved and there should be no admissibility issues for demonstrative purposes.
This serves a short introduction on the subject and much more will be written on demonstrative and substantive use of 3D printed evidence. Of course, our consultants are here to assist you in the production 3D printed evidence that you need to further your case.