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State v. Springer

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Citation Edit

State v. Springer, 283 N.C. 627, 197 S.E.2d 530 (1973) (full-text).

Factual Background Edit

The defendant was charged with willfully and feloniously withholding a Bankamericard credit card from the control and possession of the rightful owner.

Trial Court Proceedings Edit

At trial, the State produced a witness who testified that Bankamericard regularly maintained IBM computer printouts of credit card transactions. He further testified that, based on a recent printout, the card in question had been used seventy-three times since it was reported missing, for a total of $1,209.63. The printout itself was not offered into evidence. The defendant contended that the admission of the witness' testimony was prejudicial error.

State Supreme Court Proceedings Edit

The court first noted that North Carolina law provides for the admission of computer-generated business records,[1] but added that these statutes did not preclude judicial development of workable standards for evaluating the question of admissibility. The court determined that, in addition to the records being made in the regular course of business at or near the time of the act or transaction, admissibility also rests on whether

a proper foundation for such evidence is laid by testimony of a witness who is familiar with the computerized records and the methods under which they were made so as to satisfy the court that the methods, the sources of information, and the time of preparation render such evidence trustworthy.[2]

In the present case, the court held that a proper foundation was not laid since the witness merely testified to the contents of the printout, and not to its method of preparation. Furthermore, the printout itself was not produced, so the testimony was also found inadmissible under the Best Evidence Rule.


  1. 1969 N.C. Sess. Laws, c. 751, §14 & c. 875, §6.
  2. 283 N.C. at 636, 197 S.E.2d at 536.

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