The best evidence rule, as codified by statute, requires that if the original evidence or
a statutorily authorized alternative is available, no evidence should be received which is
merely "substitutionary in nature." Liddon v. Bd. of Pub. Instruction for Jackson County, 175
So. 806, 808 (Fla. 1937); Sun Bank of St. Lucie County v. Oliver, 403 So. 2d 583, 584 (Fla.
4th DCA 1981). Thus, evidence which indicates that a more original source of information is
available should be excluded. Id. In short, unless otherwise excused by the evidence code,
the original must be produced unless it is shown to be unavailable for a reason other than the
serious fault of the proponent. See Williams v. State, 386 So. 2d 538, 540 (Fla. 1980);
Firestone Serv. Stores, Inc. of Gainesville v. Wynn, 179 So. 175 (Fla. 1938).
This rule is predicated on the principle that if the original evidence is available, that
evidence should be presented to ensure accurate transmittal of the critical facts contained
within it. See Williams; State v. Eubanks, 609 So. 2d 107 (Fla. 4th DCA 1992). Thus, in
1See §§ 90.953, .955, .956, .957, Fla. Stat. (2002).