RULE 901. REQUIREMENT OF AUTHENTICATION OR IDENTIFICATION
(a) General Provision. The requirement of authentication or identification as a condition precedent to admissibility is satisfied by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what its proponent claims.
(b) Illustrations. By way of illustration only, and not by way of limitation, the following are examples of authentication or identification conforming with the requirements of this rule:
(1) Testimony of Witness With Knowledge. Testimony of a witness with knowledge that a matter 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.
(3) Comparison by Trier or Expert Witness. Comparison by the trier of fact or by expert witnesses with specimens which have been authenticated.
(4) Distinctive Characteristics and the Like. Appearance, contents, substance, internal patterns, or other distinctive characteristics, taken in conjunction with circumstances.
(5) Voice Identification. Identification of a voice, whether heard firsthand or through mechanical or electronic transmission or recording, by opinion based upon hearing the voice at any time under circumstances connecting it with the alleged speaker.
(6) Telephone Conversations. Telephone conversations, by evidence that a call was made 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 telephone.
(7) Public Records or Reports. Evidence that a writing authorized by law to be recorded or 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.
(8) Ancient Documents or Data Compilation. Evidence that a document or data compilation, 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 20 years or more at the time it is offered.
(9) Process or System. Evidence describing a process or system used to produce a result and showing that the process or system produces an accurate result.
(10) Methods Provided by Statute or Rule. Any method of authentication or identification complying with these rules, or other rules adopted by the North Dakota Supreme Court, or as provided by statute.
Article IX is taken from the Federal Rules of Evidence and has been the subject of only minor revision.
The Article deals with the method of authenticating evidence. Authentication has been said by Wigmore to be a matter of "logical necessity":
"In short, when a claim or offer involves impliedly or expressly any element of personal 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. 1940).
Thus, authentication is merely a preliminary question of conditional relevancy and, as such, is to be determined according to the standards and requirements of Rule 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.
The illustrations 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 proponent claims.
SOURCES: Minutes of Joint Procedure Committee: June 3, 1976, pages 8-10; October 1, 1975, page 8. Rule 901, Federal Rules of Evidence; Rule 901, SBAND proposal.
CONSIDERED: 47-19-23, 47-19-24, NDCC.
CONSIDERED: Rule 44(a), NDRCivP;Rule 27, NDRCrimP.