Can An Audio Recording Be Used In Court Without Witness Authentication ?

In People v. Smith, 321 Ill. App. 3d 669, 674, 749 N.E.2d 986, 255 Ill. Dec. 504 (2001), the appellate court held that the trial court could admit the video portion of a tape in which the defendant discussed with an associate his involvement in a crime. The tape was given to the police without explanation as to its origin and without authentication. The basis for the admission was merely a detective's identification of both men seen on the tape; the detective did not testify to having seen the meeting. Smith, 321 Ill. App. 3d at 675. However, the Smith court reached the opposite conclusion regarding the admission of the audio portion of the tape, holding that the trial court should not have admitted the audio portion without a silent-witness authentication. Smith, 321 Ill. App. 3d at 675.