If the emails can be authenticated and tend to show something relevant to what the judge considers the best interest of the child, the answer is simply yes. If there are emails demonstrating animosity or disinterest towards the child, for example. They can also be used to impeach testimony - so if a parent says they are with the child after school everyday, and there is a regular series of emails written from work as late as 7pm, that should be allowed. If emails and other materials are being introduced to make the other parent look bad in a way irrelevant to caretaking, such as having several sexual partners when the child is not around, it will probably not be allowed and might damage the credibility of the party trying to introduce it.
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Yes, activities of a parent can be presented in court to help the judge determine what custody is best for the kids. While this behavior may not directly affect the kids, it will show the judge which parent is acting in a more responsible way. I was able to present pictures, recipts, and other proof showing how Mom wasn't acting in a responsible way and was easily awarded custody. What can and cannot be entered into evidence at any trial completely depends upon the judge's interpretation and appplication of the evidentiary rules.
Yes. However, I have had clients claim, particularly where the evidence is i.m. or cell phone texts that someone other than the client composed the message (someone else had the password, used the cell, the person left his computer on, etc.) It is up to the judge to decide whether or not this response is credible, or believable.
The accused has the right to challenge the admissibility of any evidence used against them at trial. Whether an e-mail or any other evidence is "illegally obtained" is subject to the interpretation of the court, not the accused. If the court rules that evidence is obtained unlawfully, it can be suppressed at trial and not considered.
If the evidence is relevant in another trial, it can be used. The issue may be whether there should be a second trial at all. If it is a second trial with the same defendant there are issues of double jeopardy. If it is a second trial with a different defendant then the question arises whether the evidence is relevant. There can also be a civil trial following a criminal trial, in which case again the question is one of relevance. The most famous civil trial following a criminal trial is the OJ Simpson situation, and much evidence from the criminal trial was relevant to the civil lawsuit. See related links below.
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