Excuses for Nonproduction of the Original Writing - Public Records- - - - -
§ 240. Excuses for Nonproduction of the Original Writing: (d) Public Records
If the contents of the judgment of a court or of an executive proclamation are to be proved, shall theproponent be required to produce the original writing?
The accepted view is that, in general, publicand judicial records and public documents are required by law to be retained by the officialcustodian in the public office designated for their custody, and courts will not require them tobe removed. To require removal would be inconvenient for the public who might desire toconsult the records and would entail a risk of loss of or damage to the official documents.
Accordingly, statutes and rules have provided for the issuance of certified copies and for their admission inevidence in lieu of the original. In addition, examined copies, authenticated by a witness who has comparedit with the original record, are usually receivable.
McCormick on Evidence,
Third Edition, by Edward W. Cleary, General Editor, West Publishing Co., 1984, pp.719-20. [footnotes deleted, emphasis added]- - - - -
FEDERAL RULES OF EVIDENCE
Rule 1005. Public Records
The contents of an official record, or of a document authorized to be recorded or filed and actuallyrecorded 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 itwith 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.- - - - -http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/fre/rules.htm#Rule902
Rule 902. Self-authenticationExtrinsic evidence of authenticity as a condition precedent to admissibility is not required withrespect to the following:(1) Domestic public documents under seal. A document bearing a seal purporting to be that of the United States, or of any State, district, Commonwealth, territory, or insular possessionthereof, or the Panama Canal Zone, or the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, or of a politicalsubdivision, department, officer, or agency thereof, and a signature purporting to be anattestation or execution.
(2) Domestic public documents not under seal. A document purporting to bear the signature in the officialcapacity of an officer or employee of any entity included in paragraph (1) hereof, having no seal, if a publicofficer having a seal and having official duties in the district or political subdivision of the officer oremployee certifies under seal that the signer has the official capacity and that the signature is genuine.(3) Foreign public documents. A document purporting to be executed or attested in an official capacity by aperson authorized by the laws of a foreign country to make the execution or attestation, and accompaniedby a final certification as to the genuineness of the signature and official position (A) of the executing orattesting person, or (B) of any foreign official whose certificate of genuineness of signature and official