Lamar v. State, No. 471S106

Docket NºNo. 471S106
Citation258 Ind. 504, 282 N.E.2d 795
Case DateMay 25, 1972
CourtSupreme Court of Indiana

Page 795

282 N.E.2d 795
258 Ind. 504, 57 A.L.R.3d 736
Ralph James LAMAR, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Indiana, Appellee.
No. 471S106.
Supreme Court of Indiana.
May 25, 1972.

[258 Ind. 505]

Page 796

John G. Bunner, Evansville, for appellant.

Theo. L. Sendak, Atty. Gen., William D. Bucher, Deputy Atty. Gen., Indianapolis, for appellee.

PRENTICE, Justice.

Defendant (Appellant) was convicted in a trial by jury of voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to imprisonment for not less than two nor more than twenty-one years and disfranchised for two years. At the trial, the jury, over objection of the defendant, was permitted to hear a tape recording of his in-custody interrogation by police officers which took place at the police station on the morning following the homicide. The basis for defendant's objection was that a proper foundation for the recording had not been laid.

We have previously held sound recordings to be admissible upon proper identification and authentication. Sutton et al. v. State (1957), 237 Ind. 305, 145 N.E.2d 425. In 1970, in the case of Schmidt v. State (1970), Ind., 265 N.E.2d 219, rehearing denied March 23, 1971, Ind., 267 N.E.2d 554, the admissibility of tape recordings was not challenged per se, but it was argued that since the tapes did not [258 Ind. 506] reflect the required Miranda warnings, while otherwise reflecting all of the proceedings, the testimony of the police officer that such warnings were given was unbelievable and that the tapes should, therefore, be excluded. We there held that the question of whether or not the required warnings were given

Page 797

was merely one upon which there was a conflict in the evidence and not within the province of this Court to determine. We further held that the inaudibility of small portions of the tapes did not render them inadmissible, since it could be determined that such inaudibility detracted very little, if any, from their total content.

Defendant, relies upon the early case of Solomon v. Edgar (1955), 92 Ga.App. 207, 88 S.E.2d 167, wherein the court established the following seven requirements for proper foundation:

(1) It must be shown that the mechanical transcription device was capable of taking testimony.

(2) It must be shown that the operator of the device was competent to operate the device.

(3) The authenticity and correctness of the recording must be established.

(4) It must be shown that changes, additions, or deletions have not been made.

(5) The manner of preservation of the record must be shown.

(6) Speakers must be identified.

(7) It must be shown that the testimony elicited was freely and voluntarily made, without any kind of duress.

Additionally, the defendant asked that we impose an eighth requirement, namely a showing that the mechanical transcription device does not contain matter otherwise not admissible into evidence.

Improved methods of obtaining, preserving and presenting competent evidence, of whatever type, should not only be sanctioned but encouraged as well. In the process, we may not lose sight of fundamental safeguards, but neither should we sacrifice the advantages available to us [258 Ind. 507] through scientific and technological progress to the preservation of traditional rules that may have outlived their usefulness. Our mission is to find the truth. Having recognized that sound recordings can assist us in our quest, how do we obtain maximum benefit from them? Our first concern is with authenticity and correctness. In reviewing the rules laid down in Solomon v. Edgar (supra) it is immediately apparent that numbers 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 are merely methods of assuring number 3. If the authenticity and correctness of the transcription can be better or more easily established by other methods, they should be utilized; and if any of the methods formerly utilized are in fact unnecessary, they should no longer be required. Solomon v. Edgar (supra) was decided in 1955. Without reflecting upon the complexities of tape recording devices or their degree of proficiency at that time, they are in common use today, relatively simple of operation and heavily used and relied upon for innumerable purposes. The tape speaks for itself with regard to its audibility. If it is of adequate quality in this regard, it is immaterial how it became so; and there is no more reason for inquiring into the specifications of the device which recorded it and the capabilities of the person who operated it than there would be to make similar inquiries concerning the camera, the film, developing and printing processes and the technician who produced a photograph before admitting it into evidence. All that is required is a showing that the photograph is an adequate representation of that which is intended to be portrayed. We see no reason for requiring more of a sound recording.

Rules 4 and 5 from Solomon v. Edgar (supra) are essentially the same, the purpose of requiring the manner of preservation to be shown being to assure that no changes, additions or deletions have been made. These questions may be adequately resolved by conforming to our 'chain of custody' rules as laid down in Graham v. State (1970), Ind., 255 N.E.2d 652 and modified in Guthrie v. State (1970), Ind., 260 N.E.2d 579.

[258 Ind. 508] '* * * where as in the case of seized or purchased narcotics, the object

Page 798

offered in evidence has passed out of the possession of the original receiver and into the possession of others, a chain of possession must be established to avoid any claim of substitution, tampering or mistake, and failure to submit such proof may result in the exclusion of the evidence or testimony as to its characteristics.' Graham v. State (supra). 255 N.E.2d at 656.

'* * * Need the evidence be excluded merely because there is a possibility, regardless of how remote that possibility is, that the evidence may have been tampered with?

* * * Needless to say, extreme care is required in such a situation to insure that the composition of the evidence is not altered.' Guthrie v. State (supra). 260 N.E.2d at 583.

'* * * The question was simplified in the Graham case because there was a clear break in the chain for a six day period. However, where as here, the State has introduced evidence which strongly suggests the exact whereabouts of the evidence, the issue becomes one of probabilities.

Appellee has cited several cases the holdings of which indicate that all possibility of tampering need not be excluded; upon reasonable assurance that the exhibit has passed through the various hands in an undisturbed condition its admission is proper and any remaining doubts go to its weight only. * * * We believe such a rule is well grounded in logic and reason.' Guthire v. State (supra). 260 N.E.2d at 584.

As to rule number 6 from Solomon v. Edgar (supra), we agree that the speakers should be identified. It would be preferable that such identification be determinable from the tape itself, but we do not agree with the defendant's...

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75 practice notes
  • Porter v. State, No. 177S14
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • July 3, 1979
    ...Appellant claims this was improper, arguing that a proper foundation was not laid by the State in accordance with Lamar v. State, (1972) 258 Ind. 504, 282 N.E.2d 795. The trial court properly overruled objections on those The Lamar case involved the admission before the jury of a sound reco......
  • Brown v. State, No. 45S00-8703-CR-271
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • August 29, 1991
    ...of Brown testifying at an earlier trial in Ohio. Brown contends the trial court erred in admitting the videotape. Lamar v. State (1972), 258 Ind. 504, 282 N.E.2d 795, establishes a set of foundational requirements that must be met for a tape recording to be admitted into evidence. These req......
  • Baird's Estate, Matter of, No. 2-177A3
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • August 28, 1980
    ...Admission of a sound recording requires a foundation disclosing, in part, that the record is authentic and correct. Lamar v. State, (1972) 258 Ind. 504, 282 N.E.2d 795; Jackman v. Montgomery, (1974) 162 Ind.App. 558, 320 N.E.2d 770; Gibbs v. Miller, (1972) 152 Ind.App. 326, 283 N.E.2d 592. ......
  • Bryan v. State, No. 1181S327
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • June 28, 1983
    ...is that it fails to meet the foundational requirements for admission of a tape recording into evidence set forth in Lamar v. State, (1972) 258 Ind. 504, 282 N.E.2d In Lamar, supra, at 513, 282 N.E.2d at 800, we laid out the following five foundational requirements for admission of a tape re......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
75 cases
  • Porter v. State, No. 177S14
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • July 3, 1979
    ...Appellant claims this was improper, arguing that a proper foundation was not laid by the State in accordance with Lamar v. State, (1972) 258 Ind. 504, 282 N.E.2d 795. The trial court properly overruled objections on those The Lamar case involved the admission before the jury of a sound reco......
  • Brown v. State, No. 45S00-8703-CR-271
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • August 29, 1991
    ...of Brown testifying at an earlier trial in Ohio. Brown contends the trial court erred in admitting the videotape. Lamar v. State (1972), 258 Ind. 504, 282 N.E.2d 795, establishes a set of foundational requirements that must be met for a tape recording to be admitted into evidence. These req......
  • Baird's Estate, Matter of, No. 2-177A3
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • August 28, 1980
    ...Admission of a sound recording requires a foundation disclosing, in part, that the record is authentic and correct. Lamar v. State, (1972) 258 Ind. 504, 282 N.E.2d 795; Jackman v. Montgomery, (1974) 162 Ind.App. 558, 320 N.E.2d 770; Gibbs v. Miller, (1972) 152 Ind.App. 326, 283 N.E.2d 592. ......
  • Bryan v. State, No. 1181S327
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • June 28, 1983
    ...is that it fails to meet the foundational requirements for admission of a tape recording into evidence set forth in Lamar v. State, (1972) 258 Ind. 504, 282 N.E.2d In Lamar, supra, at 513, 282 N.E.2d at 800, we laid out the following five foundational requirements for admission of a tape re......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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