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United States v. De Georgia

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
420 F.2d 889 (1969)


The United States government (plaintiff) prosecuted Richard Allen De Georgia (defendant) for stealing a Hertz rental car on or about July 2, 1968 and taking it across state lines. De Georgia confessed to the crime, but other evidence was required to corroborate his confession. At trial, Hertz manager Tony Gratta produced regularly-maintained Hertz computer records showing the car was last rented on June 30, 1968, which indicated that the car's removal from the Hertz lot a few days later constituted theft. De Georgia objected to Gratta's testimony as inadmissible hearsay because the Hertz recordkeepers should have appeared in court, produced all rental records from the relevant period, and testified whether they remembered any unrecorded transactions from that period. The jury convicted De Georgia, and the court entered judgment accordingly. De Georgia appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, restating the grounds of his objection at trial. In addition, De Georgia argued that the best evidence rule required production of Hertz's rental records and the exclusion of Gratta's testimony about those records unless the records were shown to be unavailable.

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