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King v. State

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Citation Edit

King v. State ex rel. Murdock Acceptance Corp., 222 So.2d 393 (Miss. 1969) (full-text).

Factual Background Edit

Murdock was in the business of financing auto dealers through the purchase of conditional sales contracts. He purchased six such contracts from a dealer who then went bankrupt. The co-signer executed a note for the amount to be secured by a deed of trust on the property of the co-signer's parents. The deed of trust was acknowledged by King, who entered his notarial certificate on the acknowledgment to the deed.

The co-signer defaulted on the note, and Murdock sought to foreclose on the property. The owners of the property sued to enjoin foreclosure on the ground that King's notarial certificate was false. Murdock was successful in his suit against King for damages. Computer printout sheets showing various payments and balances due on the sales contracts were admitted into evidence in this suit.

Appellate Court Proceedings Edit

On appeal, King claimed as error the admission of the computer printouts, contending that such evidence failed to meet the best evidence rule.[1] The court first commented that trial courts must begin to take into account the realities of modern business practice in keeping records.[2] The court held that printout sheets are admissible without the necessity of producing, as witnesses, the individuals who make the original entries, if:

  1. the computer is recognized as a standard equipment in the business;
  2. the records are made in the usual course of business; and,
  3. relevant testimony satisfies the court that the sources of information, method and time of preparation are trustworthy.[3]

Having found the above criteria satisfied in the instant case, the judgment was affirmed.

ReferencesEdit

  1. King claimed that the original books and receipts were the most reliable, and therefore, best evidence.
  2. 222 So.2d at 397.
  3. Id. at 398.

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