Minor v. Tillotson
32 U.S. 99 (1833)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Minor v. Tillotson, 32 U.S. 7 Pet. 99 99 (1833)

Minor v. Tillotson

32 U.S. (7 Pet.) 99

Syllabus

What will be deemed sufficient evidence of diligence and sufficient search for a lost or mislaid original paper to permit a copy to be read as secondary evidence.

The rules of evidence are adopted for practical purposes in the administration of justice. And although it is laid down in the books as a general rule that the best evidence the nature of the case will admit of must be given, yet it is not understood that this rule requires the strongest possible assurance of the matter in question. The extent to which the rule is to be pushed is governed in some measure by circumstances. If any suspicion hangs over the instrument, or that it is designedly withheld, a more rigid inquiry should be made into the reasons for its nonproduction. But where there is no such suspicion, all that ought to be required is reasonable diligence to obtain the original.

The only point decided by the Court, with the facts which presented it for consideration, are fully stated in the opinion of the Court. Other questions in the case in relation to the admission of testimony were argued by the counsel for the parties, but the Court considered them so imperfectly stated as to require that another trial of the cause should take place in the court below.

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