2005 California Evidence Code Sections 1520-1523 Article 1. Proof of the Content of a Writing
1520. The content of a writing may be proved by an otherwise admissible original. 1521. (a) The content of a writing may be proved by otherwise admissible secondary evidence. The court shall exclude secondary evidence of the content of writing if the court determines either of the following: (1) A genuine dispute exists concerning material terms of the writing and justice requires the exclusion. (2) Admission of the secondary evidence would be unfair. (b) Nothing in this section makes admissible oral testimony to prove the content of a writing if the testimony is inadmissible under Section 1523 (oral testimony of the content of a writing). (c) Nothing in this section excuses compliance with Section 1401 (authentication). (d) This section shall be known as the "Secondary Evidence Rule." 1522. (a) In addition to the grounds for exclusion authorized by Section 1521, in a criminal action the court shall exclude secondary evidence of the content of a writing if the court determines that the original is in the proponent's possession, custody, or control, and the proponent has not made the original reasonably available for inspection at or before trial. This section does not apply to any of the following: (1) A duplicate as defined in Section 260. (2) A writing that is not closely related to the controlling issues in the action. (3) A copy of a writing in the custody of a public entity. (4) A copy of a writing that is recorded in the public records, if the record or a certified copy of it is made evidence of the writing by statute. (b) In a criminal action, a request to exclude secondary evidence of the content of a writing, under this section or any other law, shall not be made in the presence of the jury. 1523. (a) Except as otherwise provided by statute, oral testimony is not admissible to prove the content of a writing. (b) Oral testimony of the content of a writing is not made inadmissible by subdivision (a) if the proponent does not have possession or control of a copy of the writing and the original is lost or has been destroyed without fraudulent intent on the part of the proponent of the evidence. (c) Oral testimony of the content of a writing is not made inadmissible by subdivision (a) if the proponent does not have possession or control of the original or a copy of the writing and either of the following conditions is satisfied: (1) Neither the writing nor a copy of the writing was reasonably procurable by the proponent by use of the court's process or by other available means. (2) The writing is not closely related to the controlling issues and it would be inexpedient to require its production. (d) Oral testimony of the content of a writing is not made inadmissible by subdivision (a) if the writing consists of numerous accounts or other writings that cannot be examined in court without great loss of time, and the evidence sought from them is only the general result of the whole.
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