Evidence - Best Evidence Rule
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Best Evidence Rule
- Best Evidence Rule: A party seeking to prove the contents of a writing must produce the original writing (or a duplicate), unless he can show by a preponderance that the writing was lost or destroyed not in bad faith, outside the court’s jurisdiction, it’s a public record, or it’s about a collateral issue.
- If a document’s too voluminous, a summary may be introduced.
- BER applies when the writing’s a legally operative document, creating rights/obligations and when a W testifies to facts she learned from a writing
- includes sound records, x-rays, films
when a W w/ personal knowledge testifies to a fact that exists independently of a writing that records the fact
parties intended as original; any counterpart intended to have same effect; negative of film or print from negative; computer print-out
- any counterpart produced by an mechanical means that accurately reproduced the original
- Rule: duplicate is admissible to same extent as original unless it would be unfair or genuine question is raised as to authenticity of original
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