Written Confession Which Was Not Written In Suspects Presence
Was the Best Evidence Rule Violated When the Police Officer Referred to a Page of the Defendant's Written Confession Which was Not Written in His Presence ?
In Commonwealth v. Smith, 374 Pa. 220, 97 A.2d 25 (Pa. 1953), a police officer was present when Smith made a written confession.
Over defense objection, the officer referred to a page that was not written in his presence.
Smith claimed a best evidence rule violation, but the Supreme Court held the claim failed because the officer's response did not constitute testimony as to the content of the confession.
In so doing, the Court did not hold that the rule applied, as has been suggested.
It held that if the contents of the writing were not introduced, the rule could not be violated even if it were applicable. Id., at 34.
However, the Court did not hold the rule applicable.