Colo. R. Evid. 901

As amended through Rule Change 2023(13), effective July 20, 2023
Rule 901 - Requirement of Authentication or Identification
(a) General provision. The requirement of authentication or identification as a condition precedent to admissibility is satisfied by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what its proponent claims.

(Federal Rule Identical.)

(b) Illustrations. By way of illustration only, and not by way of limitation, the following are examples of authentication or identification conforming with the requirements of this rule:
(1) Testimony of witness with knowledge. Testimony that a matter is what it is claimed to be.
(2) Non-expert opinion on handwriting. Non-expert opinion as to the genuineness of handwriting, based upon familiarity not acquired for purposes of the litigation.
(3) Comparison by trier or expert witness. Comparison by the trier of fact or by expert witnesses with specimens which have been authenticated.
(4) Distinctive characteristics and the like. Appearance, contents, substance, internal patterns, or other distinctive characteristics, taken in conjunction with circumstances.
(5) Voice identification. Identification of a voice, whether heard firsthand or through mechanical or electronic transmission or recording, by opinion based upon hearing the voice at any time under circumstances connecting it with the alleged speaker.
(6) Telephone conversations. Telephone conversations, by evidence that a call was made to the number assigned at the time by the telephone company to a particular person or business, if (A) in the case of a person, circumstances, including self-identification, show the person answering to be the one called, or (B) in the case of business, the call was made to a place of business and the conversation related to business reasonably transacted over the telephone.
(7) Public records or reports. Evidence that a writing authorized by law to be recorded or filed and in fact recorded or filed in a public office, or a purported public record, report, statement, or data compilation, in any form, is from the public office where items of this nature are kept.
(8) Ancient documents or data compilation. Evidence that a document or data compilation, in any form, (A) is in such condition as to create no suspicion concerning its authenticity, (B) was in a place where it, if authentic, would likely be, and (C) that was prepared before January 1, 1998.
(9) Process or system. Evidence describing a process or system used to produce a result and showing that the process or system produces an accurate result.

(Federal Rule Identical.)

(10) Methods provided by statute or rule. Any method of authentication or identification provided by Colorado Rules of Procedure, or by statute of the State of Colorado.

CRE 901

Amended and Adopted March 29, 2021, effective 3/29/2021 immediately.

Annotation Law reviews. For article, "Hearsay in Criminal Cases Under the Colorado Rules of Evidence: An Overview", see 50 U. Colo. L. Rev. 277 (1979). For article, "Authentication of Private Documents By Nonexpert Witnesses", see 22 Colo. 2241 (1993). For article, "Authentication", see 25 Colo. Law. 55 (September 1996). Taped telephone call by the defendant in which he identified himself to a detective was properly admitted under this rule and the court correctly determined that the recorded call was not included in prosecution's stipulation that it did not intend to introduce any statements by the defendant. People v. Czemerynski, 786 P.2d 1100 (Colo. 1990). Mere fact that a document is authentic does not mean the document is admissible as competent evidence if the document constitutes otherwise inadmissible hearsay. People v. Morise, 859 P.2d 247 (Colo. App. 1993). Trial court abused its discretion in allowing expert's testimony respecting the results of her tests because the items tested by the expert were not introduced and because the expert did not describe how the items she tested were marked. Thus there was no proper evidence establishing that the tested items came from either defendant or the victim, save for the expert's unexplained conclusory statements. People v. Valencia, 257 P.3d 1203 (Colo. App. 2011). This rule merely establishes the requirements for admitting an item of physical evidence. However, even if the item itself is not admissible under this rule, the proponent may use other methods of proof to identify the item. People ex rel. J.G., 97 P.3d 300 (Colo. App. 2004). Testimony identifying items sufficient for admission. Testimony by the investigating officer identifying items seized at the scene of a crime is sufficient basis to support the admission of such items into evidence, even if the officer did not initial or mark the item when it was seized, if at trial the officer identifies the exhibit as appearing to be the same, or to look like, the evidence found at the scene. People v. Beltran, 634 P.2d 1003 (Colo. App. 1981). Physical evidence is authenticated if evidence supports a finding the item is what its proponent claims. This can be satisfied by testimony the evidence is what it is claimed to be. People v. Grace, 55 P.3d 165 (Colo. App. 2001). If a reasonable jury could decide that physical evidence is what its proponent claims it to be, trial court should allow the evidence to be presented to the jury. Any question as to the authenticity of the evidence is properly decided by the jury. People v. Crespi, 155 P.3d 570 (Colo. App. 2006). Satisfaction of authentication or identification as condition precedent to admissibility satisfied by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what its proponent claims. Testimony of a witness with knowledge that a matter is what it is claimed to be conforms to the requirements of this rule. People v. Esch, 786 P.2d 462 (Colo. App. 1989); People v. Lesslie, 939 P.2d 443 (Colo. App. 1996). Authentication was satisfied when prosecution stated that it intended to use video animation to show the types of injuries generated by shaking a baby and that, because prosecution's expert would testify regarding the types of injuries discussed in the video, such video would assist the jury. People v. Cauley, 32 P.3d 602 (Colo. App. 2001). Record of defendant's conviction of forgery maintained by the Kansas bureau of investigation was admissible as a public record under section (b)(7). People v. Deskins, 904 P.2d 1358 (Colo. App. 1995), aff'd in part and rev'd in part on other grounds, 927 P.2d 368 (Colo. 1996). Sheriff's office booking reports containing certification and signature of custodian of records were admissible as public records under subsection (b)(7). People v. Warrick, __ P.3d __ (Colo. App. 2011). Although subsection (b)(9) may be used to authenticate computer records, there is no requirement that computer records be authenticated only in this way. People v. Huehn, 53 P.3d 733 (Colo. App. 2002). Administrative law judge (ALJ) did not abuse his discretion by admitting documentary evidence under subsection (b)(1). Based upon witness testimony, ALJ committed no abuse of discretion in admitting record of request for purchase of political time and an agreement form for non-candidate issue advertisements as having been sufficiently authenticated under subsection (b)(1). As to admissibility of affidavit of performance used to indicate dates, airtimes, and the district in which the advertisements were broadcast, ALJ correctly held that political committee's agent would not have authorized payment of invoices if he doubted advertisements aired during relevant time period and in relevant legislative district. There was no need to further authenticate affidavit of performance because agent's conduct manifested "belief in its truth" under C.R.E. 801(d)(2)(B). Collectively, these documents support ALJ's findings that during relevant time period political committee arranged to broadcast television advertisements opposing legislative candidate to voters in candidate's district. Colo. Citizens for Ethics in Gov't v. Comm. for the Am. Dream, 187 P.3d 1207 (Colo. App. 2008). Applied in People v. Fueston, 717 P.2d 978 (Colo. App. 1985), aff'd in part and rev'd in part on other grounds, 749 P.2d 952 (Colo. 1988); People v. Gilmore, 97 P.3d 123 (Colo. App. 2003). .