Rule 902: Self-Authentication.

Article IX. Authentication


Extrinsic evidence of authenticity as a condition precedent to admissibility is not required as to the following:

(1) Domestic Public Documents Under Seal - A document bearing a seal purporting to be that of the State of Tennessee, the United States (or of any other state, district, commonwealth, territory, or insular possession thereof, or the Panama Canal Zone, or the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands), or of a political subdivision, department, office, or agency thereof, and a signature purporting to be an attestation or execution.

(2) Domestic Public Documents Not Under Seal - A document purporting to bear the signature in the official capacity of an officer or employee of any entity included in paragraph (1) having no seal, if a public officer having a seal and having official duties in the district or political subdivision of the officer or employee 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 a person authorized by the laws of a foreign country to make execution or attestation, accompanied by a final certification as to the genuineness of the signature and official position (A) of the executing or attesting person or (B) of any foreign official whose certificate of genuineness of signature and official position relates to the execution or attestation or is in a chain of certificates of genuineness of signature and official position relating to the execution or attestation. A final certification may be made by a secretary of embassy or legation, consul general, consul, vice consul, or consular agent of the United States, or a diplomatic or consular official of the foreign country assigned or accredited to the United States. If reasonable opportunity has been given to all parties to investigate the authenticity and accuracy of official documents, the court may for good cause shown order that they be treated as presumptively authentic without final certification or permit them 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 report or entry therein, or of a document authorized by law to be recorded or filed and actually recorded or filed in a public office (including data compilations in any form), certified as correct by the custodian or other person authorized to make the certification, by certificate complying with paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of this rule or complying with any Act of Congress or the Tennessee Legislature or rule prescribed by the Tennessee Supreme Court.

(5) Official Publications - Books, pamphlets, or other publications purporting to be issued by public authority.

(6) Newspapers and Periodicals - Printed material purporting to be newspapers and periodicals.

(7) Trade Inscriptions and the Like - Inscriptions, sign, tags, or labels purporting to have been affixed in the course of business and indicating ownership, control or origin.

(8) Acknowledged Documents - Documents accompanied by a certificate of acknowledgment executed in the manner provided by law by a notary public or other officer authorized by law to take acknowledgments.

(9) Commercial Paper and Related Documents - Commercial paper, including all signatures, and related documents to the extent provided by general commercial law.

(10) Presumptions Under Acts of Congress or the Legislature - Any signature, document, or other matter declared by Act of Congress or the Tennessee Legislature to be presumptively or prima facie authentic.

(11) Certified Records of Regularly Conducted Activity - The original or a duplicate of a domestic record of regularly conducted activity that would be admissible under Rule 803(6) if accompanied by an affidavit of its custodian or other qualified person certifying that the record:

(A) was made at or near the time of the occurrence of the matters set forth by, or from information transmitted by, a person with knowledge of and a business duty to record or transmit those matters;

(B) was kept in the course of the regularly conducted activity; and

(C) was made by the regularly conducted activity as a regular practice.

A party intending to offer a record into evidence under this paragraph must provide written notice of that intention to all adverse parties, and must make the record and declaration available for inspection sufficiently in advance of their offer into evidence to provide an adverse party with a fair opportunity to challenge them.

[As amended by order entered January 23, 2001, effective July 1, 2001; and by order entered January 31, 2003, effective July 1, 2003.]

Advisory Commission Comments.

This rule lists documents that do not require authenticating evidence as a foundation to admissibility.

Part (9) refers to Tennessee's version of the Uniform Commercial Code, T.C.A. § 47-1-101 et seq. See in particular T.C.A. § 47-3-307, concerning signatures on commercial paper.

Advisory Commission Comments [2001].

Read in conjunction with Rule 803(6), new Rule 902(11) allows affidavits by custodians to establish the foundation for business records. The custodian need not attend trial as a witness.

Advisory Commission Comment [2003].

The business duty element of a foundation for the business records hearsay exception is inserted in Rule 902(11)(A) to conform to Rule 803(6).

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