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RULE 1002

To prove the content of a writing, recording, orphotograph, the original writing, recording, or photograph is required, exceptas otherwise provided in these rules or by statute.


This rule is better known as the best evidencerule. This rule is identical to the federal rule except the words "bystatute" were substituted at the end of the rule in place of the words"by Act of Congress."

The proposed rule is consistent with current caselaw as it applies to writings. See, e.g., Riddle v. City of Greenville,251 S.C. 473, 163 S.E.2d 462 (1968);Sample v. Gulf Refining Co., 183S.C. 399, 191 S.E. 209 (1937); Cain v. Whitlock,178 S.C. 289, 182 S.E. 752 (1935); Mull v. Easley Lumber Co.,121 S.C. 155, 113 S.E. 356 (1922); Guinarin v. So. Life & Trust Co.,106 S.C. 37, 90 S.E. 319 (1916); Mayfield v. So. Ry.,85 S.C. 165, 67 S.E. 132 (1910); McCoy v.Atl. Coast Line Ry., 84 S.C. 62, 65 S.E. 939 (1909).

There are no cases which deal with theapplicability of the best evidence rule to photographs and only one case inwhich the best evidence rule has been applied to recordings. State v. Worthy,239 S.C. 449, 123 S.E.2d 835 (1962), overruled on other grounds, State v. Torrence,305 S.C. 45, 406 S.E.2d 315 (1991).

Examples of statutes that have an effect on therequirement to produce the original are: S.C. Code Ann. § 19-1-110 (1985)(instruments of common carriers); S.C. Code Ann. § 19-5-10 (1985) (publicdocuments); S.C. Code Ann. § 19-5-210 (1985) (grants issued by North Carolina);S.C. Code Ann. §§ 19-5-310 and -320 (1985) (missing person reports); S.C. CodeAnn. § 19-5-510 (1985) (business records).