What is the Best Evidence Rule?

How Can the “Best Evidence Rule” Help You in Your Case?

If you have a court case in West Palm Beach, it’s important to know of the best evidence rule and how it can help you. Find out how your experienced defense attorney could potentially apply this to your case. Continue reading for more information about the best evidence rule in court.

The best evidence rule says that when a party to a lawsuit wants to prove in court what is contained in a writing, recording, or photograph, that party has to present the original writing, recording, or photograph. A substitute will not do unless the original is unavailable through no fault of that party. (So, for example, if the party hides or destroys the original, then that party cannot use a substitute in court.)

The best evidence rule was violated in the case of Ronald McKeehan versus the State of Florida. In that case, the prosecutor presented evidence in court of a robbery that occurred in an Extended Stay America Hotel. A clerk who worked at that hotel identified McKeehan as the robber. A detective also testified that he had seen a surveillance videotape of that same robbery and that McKeehan appeared on that videotape committing the robbery. However, the jury was not shown the videotape itself.

The court of appeals said that the detective’s testimony was a violation of the best evidence rule. The original videotape of the robbery should have been shown to the jury so that it could decide for itself whether McKeehan was, in fact, the robber. If the prosecutor had presented the judge with a good reason for not showing the original videotape in court, then maybe the detective’s testimony would have been alright. But the prosecutor failed to do that. Therefore, McKeehan was given a new trial.

If you are facing criminal charges in Florida and need a dedicated criminal defense attorney, call me Ron Chapman at 561-832-4348. You can also connect with my West Palm Beach Law Office online. I am an experienced criminal defense lawyer and will be happy to discuss the details of your case with you at your convenience.


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