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Use of Computerized Business Records as Evidence (From Legal and Legislative Information Processing, P 213-231, 1980, Beth Krevitt Eres, ed. See NCJ-72522)

NCJ Number
W A Fenwick; G K Davidson
Date Published
19 pages
Principal evidentiary questions regarding the use of computerized business records are reviewed, and some of the recent developments in the use of computers in litigation are highlighted.
The litigator who wants to introduce into evidence printouts of computerized business records faces two fundamental hurdles presented by the law of evidence: the best-evidence rule, which generally requires original documents, rather than copies, to be used as evidence; and the hearsay rule, which generally excludes from evidence statements made other than by a witness testifying in court from personal knowledge. Two time-honored evidentiary principles -- the voluminous-writings exception to the best evidence rule and the business-records exception to the hearsay rule -- make those hurdles surmountable, however. In view of the overwhelming trend toward computerization of business records and the steady acceptance by the courts of printouts under the business-records exception, in most cases, the proponent of computer-produced evidence who takes the care to have the witness touch all of the foundational bases will succeed in having the evidence admitted. Fifty-nine footnotes and 18 references are provided.


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