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PA Supreme Court Allows Use Of Computer Animation

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that prosecutors may use computer animation to illustrate their murder case, but the animation has to be relevant and must authentically depict the crime scene, reports THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER.

On April 25, 2006, the court said that the animation was handled properly in the case of Michael Serge, 60, a retired Scranton police detective who shot and killed his estranged wife. Serge claimed that she had attacked him with a knife and was too intoxicated to have intended to kill her. He is now serving a life sentence.

The court said judges must weigh animations probative value (its ability to help prove a case) against any unfair harm it might cause the defendant.

"The legal system must adapt," Justice Sandra Schultz Newman wrote for the majority. "Courts are facing the need to shed any technophobia and become more willing to embrace the advances that have the ability to enhance the efficacy of the legal system."

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