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Federal Rules of Evidence
Contents of Writings, Recordings and Photographs
Rule 1001. Definitions
For purposes of this article the following definitions are
- (1) Writings and recordings. "Writings"
and "recordings" consist of letters, words, or numbers, or their
equivalent, set down by handwriting, typewriting, printing, photostating,
photographing, magnetic impulse, mechanical or electronic recording, or
other form of data compilation.
- (2) Photographs. "Photographs" include still photographs,
X-ray films, video tapes, and motion pictures.
- (3) Original. An
"original" of a writing or recording is the writing or recording
itself or any counterpart intended to have the same effect by a person
executing or issuing it. An "original" of a photograph includes
the negative or any print therefrom. If data are stored in a computer or
similar device, any printout or other output readable by sight, shown to
reflect the data accurately, is an "original".
- (4) Duplicate. A
"duplicate" is a counterpart produced by the same impression as
the original, or from the same matrix, or by means of photography, including
enlargements and miniatures, or by mechanical or electronic re-recording, or
by chemical reproduction, or by other equivalent techniques which accurately
reproduces the original.
Rule 1002. Requirement of Original
To prove the content of a writing, recording, or
photograph, the original writing, recording, or photograph is required, except
as otherwise provided in these rules or by Act of Congress.
Rule 1003. Admissibility of Duplicates
A duplicate is admissible to the same extent as an
original unless (1) a genuine question is raised as to the authenticity of the
original or (2) in the circumstances it would be unfair to admit the duplicate
in lieu of the original.
Rule 1004. Admissibility of Other Evidence of Contents
The original is not required, and other evidence of the
contents of a writing, recording, or photograph is admissible if--
- (1) Originals lost or destroyed. All originals are lost
or have been destroyed, unless the proponent lost or destroyed them in bad
- (2) Original not obtainable. No original can be
obtained by any available judicial process or procedure; or
- (3) Original in possession of opponent. At a time when
an original was under the control of the party against whom offered, that
party was put on notice, by the pleadings or otherwise, that the contents
would be a subject of proof at the hearing, and that party does not produce
the original at the hearing; or
- (4) Collateral matters. The
writing, recording, or photograph is not closely related to a controlling
Rule 1005. Public Records
The contents of an official record, or of a document
authorized to be recorded or filed and actually recorded or filed, including
data compilations in any form, if otherwise admissible, may be proved by copy,
certified as correct in accordance with rule 902 or
testified to be correct by a witness who has compared it with the original. If a
copy which complies with the foregoing cannot be obtained by the exercise of
reasonable diligence, then other evidence of the contents may be given.
Rule 1006. Summaries
The contents of voluminous writings, recordings, or
photographs which cannot conveniently be examined in court may be presented in
the form of a chart, summary, or calculation. The originals, or duplicates,
shall be made available for examination or copying, or both, by other parties at
reasonable time and place. The court may order that they be produced in court.
Rule 1007. Testimony or Written Admission of Party
Contents of writings, recordings, or
photographs may be proved by the testimony or deposition of the party against
whom offered or by that party's written admission, without accounting for the
nonproduction of the original.
Rule 1008. Functions of Court and Jury
When the admissibility of other evidence of contents of
writings, recordings, or photographs under these rules depends upon the
fulfillment of a condition of fact, the question whether the condition has been
fulfilled is ordinarily for the court to determine in accordance with the
provisions of rule 104. However,
when an issue is raised (a) whether the asserted writing ever existed, or (b)
whether another writing, recording, or photograph produced at the trial is the
original, or (c) whether other evidence of contents correctly reflects the
contents, the issue is for the trier of fact to determine as in the case of
other issues of fact.
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