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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 17-1039


Title 225—RULES

[ 225 PA. CODE ART. IX ]

Order Approving the Revision of the Comment to Rule of Evidence 902; No. 741 Supreme Court Rules Doc.

[47 Pa.B. 3491]
[Saturday, June 24, 2017]


Per Curiam

And Now, this 12th day of June, 2017, upon the recommendation of the Committee on Rules of Evidence; the proposal having been published for public comment at 46 Pa.B. 3793 (July 16, 2016):

 It is Ordered pursuant to Article V, Section 10 of the Constitution of Pennsylvania that the Comment to Pennsylvania Rule of Evidence 902 is revised in the following form.

 This Order shall be processed in accordance with Pa.R.J.A. No. 103(b), and shall be effective November 1, 2017.

Annex A



Rule 902. Evidence That is Self-Authenticating.

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 Pa.R.E. 902(1), (2), (3) and (4) deal with self-authentication of various kinds of public documents and records. They are identical to F.R.E. 902(1), (2), (3) and (4), except that Pa.R.E. 901(4) eliminates the reference to Federal law. These paragraphs are consistent with Pennsylvania statutory law. See, e.g. 42 Pa.C.S. § 6103 (official records within the Commonwealth); 42 Pa.C.S. § 5328 (domestic records outside the Commonwealth and foreign records); 35 P.S. § 450.810 (vital statistics); 42 Pa.C.S. § 6106 (documents filed in a public office).

The admission of a self-authenticating record of a prior conviction also requires sufficient evidence, either direct or circumstantial, to prove that the subject of the record is the same person for whom the record is offered in a proceeding. See, e.g., Commonwealth v. Boyd, 344 A.2d 864 (Pa. 1975).

 Pa.R.E. 902(5), (6) and (7) are identical to F.R.E. 902(5), (6) and (7). There are no corresponding statutory provisions in Pennsylvania; however, 45 Pa.C.S. § 506 (judicial notice of the contents of the Pennsylvania Code and the Pennsylvania Bulletin) is similar to Pa.R.E. 902(5).

 Pa.R.E. 902(8) is identical to F.R.E. 902(8). It is consistent with Pennsylvania law. See Sheaffer v. Baeringer, [346 Pa. 32,] 29 A.2d 697 (Pa. 1943); Williamson v. Barrett, [147 Pa. Super. 460,] 24 A.2d 546 (Pa. Super. 1942); 21 P.S. §§ 291.1—291.13 (Uniform Acknowledgement Act); [57 P.S. §§ 147—169 (Notary Public Law)] 57 Pa.C.S. §§ 301—331 (Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts). An acknowledged document is a type of official record and the treatment of acknowledged documents is consistent with Pa.R.E. 902(1), (2), (3), and (4).

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Official Note: Adopted May 8, 1998, effective October 1, 1998; amended November 2, 2001, effective January 1, 2002; amended February 23, 2004, effective May 1, 2004; rescinded and replaced January 17, 2013, effective March 18, 2013; amended November 9, 2016, effective January 1, 2017; amended June 12, 2017, effective November 1, 2017.

Committee Explanatory Reports:

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 Final Report explaining the November 9, 2016 addition of paragraph (13) published with the Court's Order at 46 Pa.B. 7438 (November 26, 2016).

Final Report explaining the June 12, 2017 amendment of the Comment published with the Court's Order at 47 Pa.B. 3491 (June 24, 2017).


Revision of Comment to Pa.R.E. 902

 On June 12, 2017, effective November 1, 2017, upon recommendation of the Committee on Rules of Evidence, the Court ordered the revision of the Comment to Pa.R.E. 902. The purpose of this revision is to alert readers that certain self-authenticating records may also require proof of identification. Under the Rules of Evidence, certificates evidencing a prior criminal record are self-authenticating under Pa.R.E. 902(4). See also 42 Pa.C.S. § 5328, 42 Pa.C.S. § 6103, and 75 Pa.C.S. § 6501. However, self-authenticating certificates fulfill only part of the requirement for proving a prior criminal conviction. Under case law, the proponent has the burden of proving: 1) a prior conviction is authentic (i.e., with a self-authenticating certificate); and 2) the person against whom it is sought to be admitted is the same person reflected on the certificate. Commonwealth v. Boyd, 344 A.2d 864 (Pa. 1975).

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 17-1039. Filed for public inspection June 23, 2017, 9:00 a.m.]


1  The Committee's Final Report should not be confused with the official Committee Comments to the rules. Also note that the Supreme Court does not adopt the Committee's Comments or the contents of the Committee's explanatory Final Reports.

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