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Authentication and the Best Evidence Rule
a. Authentication i.
ii. Rule 901. Authenticating or Identifying Evidence (a) In General. To satisfy the requirement of authenticating or identifying an item of evidence, the proponent must produce evidence sufficient to support a finding that the item is what the proponent claims it is. (b) Examples. The following are examples only --- not a complete list
--- of evidence that satisfies the requirement: (1) Testimony of a Witness with Knowledge. Testimony that an item is what it is claimed to be. (2) Nonexpert Opinion About Handwriting. A nonexpert's opinion that handwriting is genuine, based on a familiarity with it that was not acquired for the current litigation. (3) Comparison by an Expert Witness or the Trier of Fact. A comparison with an authenticated specimen by an expert witness or the trier of fact. (4) Distinctive Characteristics and the Like. The appearance, contents, substance, internal patterns, or other distinctive characteristics of the item, taken together with all the circumstances. (5) Opinion About a Voice. An opinion identifying a person's voice ---
whether heard firsthand or through mechanical or electronic transmission or recording --- based on hearing the voice at any time under circumstances that connect it with the alleged speaker. (6) Evidence About a Telephone Conversation. [for outgoing calls]
For a telephone conversation, evidence that a call was made to the number assigned at the time to: (A) a particular person, if circumstances, including self-identification, show that the person answering was the one called; or (B) a particular business, if the call was made to a business and the call related to business reasonably transacted over the telephone.
[for incoming calls, can use voice, see (5) above]
(7) Evidence About Public Records. Evidence that: (A) a document was recorded or filed in a public office as authorized by law; or (B) a purported public record or statement is from the office where items of this kind are kept. (8) Evidence About Ancient Documents or Data Compilations. For a document or data compilation, evidence that it: (A) is in a condition that creates no suspicion about its authenticity; (B) was in a place where, if authentic, it would likely be; and (C) is at least 20 years old when offered. (9) Evidence About a Process or System. Evidence describing a process or system and showing that it produces an accurate result. (10) Methods Provided by a Statute or Rule. Any method of authentication or identification allowed by a federal statute or a rule prescribed by the Supreme Court. Practical authentication
a. Witness on the stand (choice of witness?) b. Accredit the witness to authenticate exhibit c. Pre-marked or mark at trial d. Show opposing counsel and the court e. Show the witness (refer by exhibit no.) f. Ask authenticating /foundation questions g. Offer the exhibit (by exhibit number) Rule 902. Evidence That Is Self-Authenticating The following items of evidence are self-authenticating; they require no extrinsic evidence of authenticity in order to be admitted: (1) Domestic Public Documents That Are Sealed and Signed. A document that bears: (A) a seal purporting to be that of the United States; any state, district, commonwealth, territory, or insular possession of the United States; the former Panama Canal Zone; the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands; a political subdivision of any of these entities; or a department, agency, or officer of any entity named above; and (B) a signature purporting to be an execution or attestation. (2) Domestic Public Documents That Are Not Sealed but Are Signed and Certified. A document that bears no seal if: (A) it bears the signature of an officer or employee of an entity named in Rule 902(1)(A); and (B) another public officer who has a seal and official duties within that same entity certifies under seal --- or its equivalent --- that the signer has the official capacity and that the signature is genuine. (3) Foreign Public Documents. A document that purports to be signed or attested by a person who is authorized by a foreign country's law to do so. The document must be accompanied by a final certification that certifies the genuineness of the signature and official position of the signer or attester --- or of any foreign official whose certificate of genuineness relates to the signature or attestation or is in a chain of certificates of genuineness relating to the signature or attestation. The certification may be made by a secretary of a United States embassy or legation; by a consul general, vice consul, or consular agent of the United States; or by a diplomatic or consular official of the foreign country assigned or accredited to the United States. If all parties have been given a reasonable opportunity to investigate the document's authenticity and accuracy, the court may, for good cause, either: (A) order that it be treated as presumptively authentic without final certification; or (B) allow it to be evidenced by an attested summary with or without final certification. (4) Certified Copies of Public Records. A copy of an official record --- or a copy of a document that was recorded or filed in a public office as authorized by law --- if the copy is certified as correct by: (A) the custodian or another person authorized to make the certification; or (B) a certificate that complies with Rule 902(1), (2), or (3), a federal statute, or a rule prescribed by the Supreme Court. (5) Official Publications. A book, pamphlet, or other publication purporting to be issued by a public authority. (6) Newspapers and Periodicals. Printed material purporting to be a
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