REQUIREMENT OF AUTHENTICATION OR
AUTHENTICATING OR IDENTIFYING EVIDENCE
(a) General provision. The requirement of authentication or identification as a
precedent to admissibility is satisfied by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the
matter in question is what its proponent claims.
(a) In General. To satisfy the requirement of authenticating or identifying an item of evidence, the proponent must produce evidence sufficient to support a finding that the item is what the proponent claims it is.
(b) Illustrations. By way of illustration only, and not by way of limitation, the
are examples of authentication or identification conforming with the requirements of this
(b) Examples. The following are examples only, not a complete list, of evidence that satisfies the requirement:
(1) Testimony of witness with knowledge. Testimony of a witness with knowledge
matter is what it is claimed to be.
(1) Testimony of a Witness with Knowledge. Testimony that an item is what it is claimed to be.
(2) Nonexpert opinion on handwriting. Nonexpert opinion as to the genuineness of
handwriting, based upon familiarity not acquired for purposes of the litigation.
(2) Nonexpert Opinion About Handwriting. A nonexpert's opinion that handwriting is genuine, based on a familiarity with it that was not acquired for the current litigation.
(3) Comparison by trier or nonexpert witness. Comparison by the trier of fact or by
witnesses with specimens which have been authenticated.
(3) Comparison by an Expert Witness or the Trier of Fact. A comparison with an authenticated specimen by an expert witness or the trier of fact.
(4) Distinctive characteristics and the like. Appearance, contents, substance,
patterns, or other distinctive characteristics, taken in conjunction with circumstances.
(4) Distinctive Characteristics and the Like. The appearance, contents, substance, internal patterns, or other distinctive characteristics of the item, taken together with all the circumstances.
(5) Voice identification. Identification of a voice, whether heard firsthand or
mechanical or electronic transmission or recording, by opinion based upon hearing the voice
at any time under circumstances connecting it with the alleged speaker.
(5) Opinion About a Voice. An opinion identifying a person's voice, whether heard firsthand or through mechanical or electronic transmission or recording, based on hearing the voice at any time under circumstances that connect it with the alleged speaker.
(6) Telephone conversations. Telephone conversations, by evidence that a call was
to the number assigned at the time by the telephone company to a particular person or
business, if (i) in the case of a person, circumstances, including self-identification, show the
person answering to be the one called, or (ii) in the case of a business, the call was made to
a place of business and the conversation related to business reasonably transacted over the
(6) Evidence About a Telephone Conversation. For a telephone conversation, evidence that a call was made to the number assigned at the time to:
(A) a particular person, if circumstances, including self-identification, show that the person answering was the one called; or
(B) a particular business, if the call was made to a business and the call related to business reasonably transacted over the telephone.
(7) Public records or reports. Evidence that a writing authorized by law to be
filed and in fact recorded or filed in a public office, or a purported public record, report,
statement, or data compilation, in any form, is from the public office where items of this
nature are kept.
(7) Evidence About Public Records. Evidence that:
(A) a document was recorded or filed in a public office as authorized by law; or
(B) a purported public record or statement is from the office where items of this kind are kept.
(8) Ancient documents or data compilations. Evidence that a document or data
in any form, (i) is in such condition as to create no suspicion concerning its authenticity, (ii)
was in a place where it, if authentic, would likely be, and (iii) has been in existence twenty
years or more at the time it is offered.
(8) Evidence About Ancient Documents or Data Compilations. For a document or data compilation, evidence that it:
(A) is in a condition that creates no suspicion about its authenticity;
(B) was in a place where, if authentic, it would likely be; and
(C) is at least 20 years old when offered.
(9) Process or system. Evidence describing a process or system used to produce a
showing that the process or system produces an accurate result.
(9) Evidence About a Process or System. Evidence describing a process or system and showing that it produces an accurate result.
(10) Methods provided by statute or rule. Any method of authentication or
complying with these rules, or other rules adopted by the North Dakota supreme court, or
as provided by statute.
(10) Methods Provided by a Statute or Rule. Any method of authentication or identification allowed by a statute or a rule prescribed by the North Dakota Supreme Court.
Rule 901 was amended, effective March 1, 2014.
Article IX is taken from the Federal Rules of Evidence and has been the subject of
minor revision. Rule 901 is based on Fed.R.Ev. 901.
The Article deals with the method of authenticating evidence. Authentication has
by Wigmore to be a matter of "logical necessity":
"In short, when a claim or offer involves impliedly or expressly any element of
connection with a corporal object, that connection must be made to appear, like the other
elements, else the whole fails in effect." VII Wigmore, Evidence, § 2129 at 564 (3d ed.
Thus, authentication Authentication is merely a preliminary
question of conditional
relevancy and, as such, is to be determined according to the standards and requirements of
N.D.R.Ev. 104(b) , NDREv. A determination that evidence is authentic
does not render it
admissible. It may be hearsay, e.g., and excluded on that ground.
illustrations examples listed in subdivision (b) are derived
from traditional methods of
authentication. They should be read in light of the general requirement of subdivision (a),
which is satisfied by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter is what its
Rule 901 was amended, effective March 1, 2014, in response to the December 1, 2011, revision of the Federal Rules of Evidence. The language and organization of the rule were changed to make the rule more easily understood and to make style and terminology consistent throughout the rules. There is no intent to change any result in any ruling on evidence admissibility.
Sources: Joint Procedure Committee Minutes
: of September 27, 2012,
page 26 June 3,
1976, pages 8-10; October 1, 1975, page 8. Rule 901, Federal Rules of
901; Rule 901, SBAND proposal.
Considered: N.D.C.C. §§ 47-19-23, 47-19-24.
Considered: Rule 44(a), NDRCivP; Rule 27, NDRCrimP.
Cross Reference: N.D.R.Ev. 104 (Preliminary Questions); N.D.R.Civ.P. 44 (Proving an Official Record); N.D.R.Crim.P. 27 (Proof of Official Record).