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.
- The following are examples only — not a complete list — of evidence that satisfies the requirement:
- Testimony of a Witness with Knowledge. Testimony that an item is what it is claimed to be.
- 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.
- 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.
- Distinctive Characteristics and the Like. The appearance, contents, substance, internal patterns, or other distinctive characteristics of the item, taken together with all the circumstances.
- 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.
- Evidence About a Telephone Conversation. For a telephone conversation, evidence that a call was made to the number assigned at the time to:
- a particular person, if circumstances, including self-identification, show that the person answering was the one called; or
- a particular business, if the call was made to a business and the call related to business reasonably transacted over the telephone.
- Evidence About Public Records. Evidence that:
- a document was recorded or filed in a public office as authorized by law; or
- a purported public record or statement is from the office where items of this kind are kept.
- Evidence About Ancient Documents or Data Compilations. For a document or data compilation, evidence that it:
- is in a condition that creates no suspicion about its authenticity;
- was in a place where, if authentic, it would likely be; and
- is at least 20 years old when offered.
- Evidence About a Process or System. Evidence describing a process or system and showing that it produces an accurate result.
- Methods Provided by a Statute or Rule. Any method of authentication or identification allowed by a federal statute or a rule prescribed by the Supreme Court.
- For ancient documents, they must have logically had a reason to have been corrected if incorrect.