EvidenceProf Blog

Editor: Colin Miller
Univ. of South Carolina School of Law

Friday, July 9, 2010

Grand Theft Auto: Court Of Appeals Of North Carolina Finds Car Pricing Guide Evidence Admissible Under Rule 803(17)

Back in 2008, I posted an entry about the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maine finding that evidence from the Kelley Blue Book is admissible under Federal Rule of Evidence 803(17), which provides an exception to the rule against hearsay for

Market quotations, tabulations, lists, directories, or other published compilations, generally used and relied upon by the public or by persons in particular occupations.

The recent opinion of the Court of Appeals of North Carolina in State v. Dallas, 2010 WL 2650394 (N.C.App. 2010), reveals that courts have reached the same conclusion with regard to evidence from the NADA pricing guide.

In Dallas, Christopher Allan Dallas appealed from his convictions of three counts of felony larceny of a motor vehicle, one count of misdemeanor larceny of a motor vehicle, and of being a habitual felon.  Dallas' primary contention on appeal was that the trial court erred in admitting hearsay evidence as to the values of the stolen vehicles.

This evidence came from the Kelley Blue Book and the NADA pricing guide. With regard to the former evidence, the Court of Appeals of North Carolina found that it was admissible under North Carolina Rule of Evidence 803(17), which is identical to its federal counterpart. The court had no problem reaching this result because the Supreme Court of North Carolina had previously found in In re McLean Trucking Co., 189 S.E.2d 194, 203 (N.C. 1972), that evidence from the Kelley Blue Book qualifies for admission under this hearsay exception.

And while the court found no prior North Carolina precedent on the issue of whether evidence from the NADA pricing guide is admissible under Rule 803(17), the court noted that the prosecution's expert witness testified that NADA  is "a national pricing guide" that he and others in the used car sales profession commonly use to price cars. Moreover, the court noted that

Other jurisdictions have held that NADA evidence is admissible under Rule 803(17). See, e.g., Hess v. Riedel-Hess, 153 Ohio App.3d 337, 345, 794 N.E.2d 96, 103 (2003) (holding that because "[t]he NADA handbook is a standard tool for determining the value of a vehicle[,]" trial court did not err in admitting into evidence NADA appraisal guide from NADAguides.com in order to establish value of vehicle under Rule 803(17)); State v. Batiste, 764 So.2d 1038, 1040 (La.App.2000) ("In our view, the NADA Blue Book, containing the relative commercial values of used vehicles, constitutes the exact type of publication contemplated by La.Code Evid. art. 803(17)."), cert. denied, 794 So.2d 778 (2001).

Therefore, according to the court, "In line with those jurisdictions, we also hold that NADA evidence was admissible in this case."



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