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Digital Evidence From Fitbit Pivotal in Murder Conviction

Digital Evidence from Fitbit is Pivotal in Murder Conviction

In March, Erik Thompson and I presented a CLE course for the Milwaukee Bar Association titled “New Frontiers in E-Discovery: the Astonishing Amount of DIscoverable Data in the Cloud.” In that course, we highlighted two court cases involving Fitbit fitness tracker data—one criminal and one civil.

A jury verdict just arrived for the criminal case, finding a Connecticut man guilty of murdering his wife. Digital evidence from the wife’s Fitbit significantly influenced the verdict.

In this case, the husband maintained his innocence, testifying that a home invasion was the cause of his wife’s murder. According to the husband, a masked assailant tied him up and shot his wife at the couple’s home.

However, activity data from the wife’s Fitbit tracker directly contradicted the husband’s story, showing that the wife was moving and active about an hour after she was reportedly killed. While this wasn’t the only consideration for the jury, it cast substantial doubt on the husband’s alibi and trustworthiness.

The world is changing thanks to the myriad portable digital devices that we transport with us each day. Whether in our pocket or strapped to our wrists, these devices are tracking detailed information about our daily activities and uploading it to the cloud. Whether we like it or not, much of this information is potentially discoverable.