Business Records


Franklin County Criminal Law Casebook

Reproduced with permission from:
Timothy E. Pierce and the Franklin County Public Defender Office

Evidence Rule 803(6) -- Business records exception to the hearsay rule.
Evidence Rule 803(7) -- Absence of entry in record in a business record.
Evidence Rule 803(8) --Public records and reports.
Evidence Rule 803(9) -- Records of vital statistics.
Evidence Rule 803(10) -- Absence of public records.
Evidence Rule 803(11-17) -- Further exceptions for records of religious organizations, marriage and baptismal certificates, family records, documents affecting an interest in property, ancient documents and market reports.
Evid. R. 902 -- Self-Authentication.
Evid. R. 1002 -- Requirement of original.
Evid. R. 1003 -- Admissibility of duplicates.
Evid. R. 1004 -- Admissibility of other evidence of contents.
Evid. R. 1005 -- Public Records (use of certified copies).
Evid. R. 1006 -- Summaries if documents are voluminous.
R.C. 2317.40 -- Records as evidence.
R.C. 2317.41 -- Photographic copies of records admissible as competent evidence.
R.C. 2317.42 -- Reports or certified copies to be admitted.
State v. Mays, 119 Ohio St. 3d 406, 2008-Ohio-4539, ¶77 – A codefendant‘s plea allocution is not admissible as a business record.
State v. Bahns, 185 Ohio App. 3d 805, 2009-Ohio-5525 – Deception to obtain drugs prosecution was based on comparison of computerized records covering issuance of drugs to nurses and patient records. Evidently the former were introduced but the patient records were not. Ordinarily business records must be provided and authenticated before a witness may testify as to their contents. Untimely mention in a Rule 29 motion did not preserve the issue for appeal. Failure to object did not constitute ineffective assistance of counsel.
Sikora v. Gibbs (1999), 132 Ohio App. 3d 770, 774-775 -- Unsworn statement of an officer sued by arrestee, prepared after civil suit was filed, was not admissible under the public records exception to the hearsay rule as the contents are likely to be self-serving, thus not satisfying the trustworthiness requirement of Evid. R. 803(6).
State v. Scurti, 153 Ohio App. 3d 183, 2003-Ohio-3286 -- BAC Datamaster was taken out of service for software modifications. Issue was whether it had been reapproved by the Director of the Ohio Department of Health following modifications. Letters from the department to the company qualified for admission as public records. Letters from the company to the department did not, but met the requisites for admission as business records. CEO of the company was sufficiently qualified as an expert.
State v. Myers, 153 Ohio App. 3d 547, 2003-Ohio-4135, ¶ 11 -- Evidence Rule 803(6) does not require the witness whose testimony establishes the foundation for a business record to have personal knowledge of the exact circumstances of preparation and production of the document. But the witness must demonstrate he or she is sufficiently familiar with operations and record keeping procedures to able to reasonably testify that the record is what it purports to be, and that it was made in the ordinary course of business.
State v. Young, Montgomery App. No. 19466, 2003-Ohio-4706, ¶ 33-48 -- Statements to an emergency room nurse identifying the defendant as the person who molested her were not admissible as business records pursuant to Evid. R. 803(6). But they were admissible pursuant to Evid. R. 804(4) as statements relating to diagnosis and treatment as identification may be tied to addressing sexually transmitted diseases, the potential of future abuse, and emotional and psychological impact.
Mastran v. Urichich (1988), 37 Ohio St. 3d 44, 48-49 -- Statements by patient, as to cause of injuries, included in patient records is not admissible under the business records exception as they lack the necessary indicia of trustworthiness. Also see Peppers v. Ohio Dept. of Rehab. and Corr. (1988), 50 Ohio App. 3d 87.
Ohio Dept. of Mental Health v. Milligan (1988), 39 Ohio App. 3d 178 -- Headnote 2: "Where a patient's medical file contains records derived from more than one medical institution or similar source, the current custodian of the file may authenticate the entire file for purposes of Evid. R. 803(6)."
State v. Combs (1991), 62 Ohio St. 3d 278, 284 -- Medical records properly excluded absent evidence as to when and why blood test was given, who gave it, what circumstances it was given under, and that record was made at or near the time the test was administered.
State v. Spikes (1981), 67 Ohio St. 2d 405 -- Paragraph one of the syllabus: "R.C. 2317.422, which established a procedure for admitting hospital records in evidence, via a sworn, written certification from the custodian of records, preserves the confrontation rights of a criminal defendant...(State v. Tims (1981), 9 Ohio St. 2d 136, overruled, in part.) Also see State v. Walker (1978), 53 Ohio St. 2d 192 (copies of logbook pages relating to OMVI tests).
Hardesty v. Corrova (1986), 27 Ohio App. 3d 332 -- Proper foundation laid for admission of account records when attorney testified as to manner in which they were prepared at his direction. One error in an account record does not render the record inadmissible.
State v. Vrona (1988), 47 Ohio App. 3d 145 -- Custodian of the records need not have firsthand knowledge of the transaction entered. Instead, must have sufficient familiarity with operation of the business and preparation and maintenance of the record to establish that it was kept in the ordinary course of business in accordance with the requirements of Evid. R. 803(6). Also see WUPW TV-36 v. Direct Results Marketing, Inc. (1990), 70 Ohio App. 3d 710.
State v. Knox (1984), 18 Ohio App. 3d 36 -- Telephone company security manager sufficiently qualified as custodian of the records to authenticate printouts generated by traps placed on phone lines to record and identify source of incoming phone calls.
State v. Hirtzinger (1997), 124 Ohio App. 3d 40 -- Victim's cell phone bill was improperly admitted as a business record as there was no testimony from the phone company called to testify as to the nature of their billing practices. The victim's personal experience as a customer could not give her the knowledge needed to lay a foundation for admission. Reversed on finding error was not harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.
State v. Lane (1995), 108 Ohio App. 3d 477 -- Cellmark laboratory casefile relating to DNA testing was prepared for litigation and lacked the necessary trustworthiness for admission as a business record.
Columbus v. Lacy (1988), 46 Ohio App. 3d 161, 164-165 -- Proper foundation for admission of urinalysis results not laid where witness was not the custodian of records for the company that actually performed the tests. Instead, he was custodian only for company that collected samples and forwarded them to lab.
St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co. v. Ohio Fast Freight, Inc. (1982), 8 Ohio App. 3d 155 -- Headnote 1: "There is no hearsay exception, either in Evid. R. 803 or 804, that allows a witness to give hearsay testimony as to the content of business records based only upon a review of those records."
McCormick v. Mirrored Image, Inc. (1982), 7 Ohio App. 3d 232 -- Correspondence, here between attorney and adverse party, not admissible as a business record unless strictly meets foundation requirements of Evid. R. 803(6).

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Published by Timothy E. Pierce
Copyright © Franklin County Public Defender and Timothy E. Pierce, 2015
Contents may not be duplicated without express permission.