More emojis are showing up in courtroom cases across the USA. Attorneys have to argue for various interpretations of the small illustrated characters that are used to express feelings, actions, or objects. And courts are struggling to deal with the differences of emojis as evidence.
“Many courts haven’t had to face the emoji much; however, the numbers are up, and it’ll probably rise,” Vinson & Elkins partner Jason Levine, who has worked on cases with emojis as proof, informed reporters. “Judges aren’t ready for the influx, especially ones who’re older and is probably not acquainted with recent vernacular.”
The number of filed cases with emojis as proof in America rose from 33 in 2017 to 53 in 2018, and is at almost 50 to date in the first half of 2019, based on Eric Goldman, a Santa Clara University law professor who observe court opinions which are made public.
No courtroom guidelines exist on how to approach the subject. Generally, a judge would possibly describe the emoji in a query to jurors, rather than let them see and interpret it for themselves. In some cases, emojis are omitted from proof altogether, Goldman stated.
Emojis are usual in sexual harassment and felony cases. An emoji with Xs for eyes — also referred to as the “dizzy face emoji” — was a difficulty in a 2017 murder case in Massachusetts. Prosecutors argued that the emoji confirmed that an individual who obtained it knew “something was occurring.”
Emojis are increasingly showing up in office lawsuits, too. For example, in an employee termination case associated with a likely violation of family medical leave, a supervisor despatched a series of smiley face emojis. The plaintiff’s legal professionals claimed it was proof the corporate was happy to let her go.