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Best Evidence Rule Under the Federal Rules

This exercise is designed to guide the student through the basics of the best evidence/original document rule under the federal rules. The exercise progresses logically through the rule. In order, it looks at the definition of “writing, recording, or photograph,” the concept of proving “content of a writing,” the definition of “original” and “duplicate,” proof of “collateral” matters, material in possession of the opposite party, computer printouts, compilations, secondary evidence (Is there a “second best evidence” rule?), and the division of function between the judge and jury.

The exercise does not touch on Public Records (FRE 1005) or on Testimony or Written Admission of Party (FRE 1007). These are left for students to read on their own.

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