Texas Rule of Evidence 803(8) Interpretation

Rule 803(8) of the Texas Rules of Evidence provides an exception to the hearsay rule: Records, reports, statements, or data compilations, in any form, of public offices or agencies setting forth (A) the activities of the office or agency, or (B) matters observed pursuant to duty imposed by law as to which matters there was a duty to report, excluding, however, matters observed by police officers and other law enforcement personnel, or (C) against the state, factual findings resulting from an investigation made pursuant to authority granted by law; unless the sources of information or other circumstances indicate lack of trustworthiness.TEX. R. EVID. 803(8) In Cole v. State, 839 S.W.2d 798 (Tex. Crim. App. 1990), the trial court admitted reports prepared by a chemist for the Department of Public Safety ("DPS") forensic laboratory in an aggravated sexual assault case through the testimony of the supervising chemist. See Cole, 839 S.W.2d at 799. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeal held that reports could not be admitted through the testimony of the supervising chemist because the chemist who prepared the report fell into the category of other law enforcement personnel for the purposes of Rule 803(8)(B). See 839 S.W.2d at 805. In making this determination, the court considered it significant that the "reports were not prepared for purposes independent of specific litigation, nor were they ministerial, objective observations of an unambiguous factual nature," but they were prepared in the DPS laboratory, "a uniquely litigious and prosecution-oriented environment." 839 S.W.2d at 805, 809-10.