Hadlock v. Director of Revenue, 75536

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Missouri
Citation860 S.W.2d 335
Docket NumberNo. 75536,75536
PartiesRicky R. HADLOCK, Appellant, v. DIRECTOR OF REVENUE, State of Missouri, Respondent.
Decision Date17 August 1993

Bruce Brown, James R. Brown, Kearney, for appellant.

Jeremiah W. (Jay) Nixon, Atty. Gen., James A. Chenault, III, Sp. Asst. Atty. Gen., Jefferson City, for respondent.

PRICE, Judge.

The circuit court suspended appellant's driving privilege pursuant to the provisions of the Administrative D.W.I. Law, §§ 302.505--302.540, RSMo 1986. 1 The evidence consisted solely of the records of respondent. Respondent's file contained a police report made by the arresting officer, a printout of the breath analysis results and a form completed by the chemical test operator. Despite appellant's hearsay and foundation objections, the reports were admitted into evidence pursuant to § 302.312, RSMo Supp.1992, which permits "copies" of respondent's files certified by the custodian to be admitted into evidence in "the same manner and with like effect as the originals."

The crux of this case is whether respondent's file is admissible without supporting foundation testimony. Resolution of this issue necessarily requires an examination of the specific language of § 302.312. We have jurisdiction pursuant to Mo. Const. art. V, § 10, and reverse the decision of the circuit court.


Appellant Ricky R. Hadlock was observed driving 55 m.p.h. in a 35 m.p.h. zone on April 10, 1991, at approximately 1:10 a.m. He was stopped by Officer Nelson Burgen, who noted a strong odor of intoxicants on or about appellant's person. Hadlock was then given field sobriety tests, arrested at approximately 1:20 a.m., and transported to the Riverside Police Department where he submitted to a breath analysis test. The test was conducted by James D. Baughman with an Alco-Analyzer 2000. A form completed by Baughman indicates that Baughman explained to appellant his rights under the implied consent law at approximately 1:51 a.m. The form further indicates that this explanation occurred prior to the administration of the test.

The printout of the chemical test results attached to the form, however, indicates that the chemical analysis began at "0101:50" or approximately 1:02 a.m. Thus, the printout is inconsistent with the time that the implied consent information was given, and with the time that appellant was initially stopped by the arresting officer.

Baughman also completed another checklist regarding the test, which included "box 7." Box 7 states:

7. After printout, tear off chromatogram and fill in name of operator and subject. Attach printout to this report.

This box was checked, and Baughman certified that "there was no deviation from the procedure approved by the department." The name of the subject of the printout submitted with respondent's records, however, was not indicated on the printout. The printout states that the blood alcohol content of the subject was .158 percent.

Section 302.505 provides for an administrative suspension of driving privileges when the Department determines that a person was arrested upon probable cause to believe the person was driving with a blood alcohol concentration equal to or greater than .13 percent. 2 This type of administrative suspension is completely independent from an adjudication of any criminal charges arising out of the same occurrence under Chapter 577. The determination is based upon a report made by a law enforcement officer as required in § 302.510. The determination is final unless a hearing is requested and held. § 302.505.2. In this case, appellant requested a hearing, and the initial suspension was upheld.

Appellant then filed an application for a trial de novo in circuit court, pursuant to § 302.535. At trial, respondent proved its case solely by the introduction of the printout and reports of the arresting officer and the chemical test operator. These records, without any additional foundation evidence, were offered and received into evidence pursuant to § 302.312, RSMo 1992, as documents lawfully filed with the Department of Revenue and certified by the custodian. The circuit court then found that appellant's driving privilege was subject to suspension.


Before a document may be received in evidence, it must meet a number of foundational requirements including: relevancy, authentication, the best evidence rule, and hearsay. With the possible exception of relevancy, a statute may eliminate one or more of these obstacles with regard to a particular document. 3 We must determine whether the records admitted in this case meet these requirements or to what extent the requirements are eliminated by statute.

Unlike the federal rules of evidence, Missouri has no statutory or common law provision as to all public documents. Rather, Missouri has a number of statutes that remove some or all of the standard requirements of admission for various public documents. One such statute is § 302.312, which provides:

Department of revenue and department of health, bureau of vital statistics, records admissible in evidence, when.--Copies of all papers and documents lawfully deposited or filed in the offices of the department of revenue or the bureau of vital records of the department of health and copies of any matter recorded in the offices, properly certified by the appropriate custodian or the director, shall be admissible as evidence in all courts of this state in the same manner and with like effect as the originals.

(Emphasis added.)

The language "shall be admissible as evidence in all courts of this state" is similar to language in other evidentiary statutes that makes certain public documents "admissible" subject only to their relevancy to the case at hand. For example, § 490.220 states that all records kept in any public office of the United States or a sister state "shall be evidence in this state" if attested by the keeper of the records and with the keeper's seal. So long as the requirements of the statute are met and the records are relevant, they are admissible. 4 Wiggins v. Coy, 462 S.W.2d 751 (Mo.1971); State v. Gray, 423 S.W.2d 776 (Mo.1968). Such statutes are desirable to eliminate the inconvenience and expense of live but generally uncontested foundation testimony. See Carp v. Queen Insurance Co., 203 Mo. 295, 101 S.W. 78, 89 (1907); State v. Medley, 588 S.W.2d 55, 58 (Mo.App.1979).

Like § 490.220, it might be argued that by using the language "shall be admissible as evidence in this state" the legislature intended for § 302.312 to make records of the Department of Revenue admissible without further foundation. Section 302.312, however, contains additional language stating "in the same manner and with like effect as the originals." Under traditional rules of statutory construction, we are required to ascertain the intent of the legislature by considering the plain and ordinary meaning of the words used in the statute. Jones v. Director of Revenue, 832 S.W.2d 516 (Mo. banc 1992). Further, each word, clause, sentence and section of a statute should be given meaning. State ex rel. Missouri State Bd. of Registration for Healing Arts v. Southworth, 704 S.W.2d 219 (Mo. banc 1986).

Accordingly, we cannot ignore the final portion of § 302.312, which states "in the same manner and with like effect as the originals," and which must be read as an additional limitation. 5 The statute permits "copies" to be admitted "in the same manner and with like effect as the originals " and no more. Section 302.312 simply alleviates the need for the original documents of the Department of Revenue, Department of Health, and the Bureau of Vital Statistics, which would otherwise be required under the best evidence rule. The statute only requires certification that the copy is a true and accurate copy of the original. Perhaps unfortunately, the language of the statute leaves these copies subject to the same foundation objections as would be their originals: authentication and hearsay. No foundational evidence was offered in this case, and the documents were not properly admitted. 6

Our interpretation of § 302.312 is in accord with several other cases involving statutes with similar qualifying language as "in the same manner and with like effect as the original." In these cases, there has always been an attesting witness to authenticate the document, or objections to the introduction of the document were not validly preserved for review. These statutes were construed simply as making a statutory exception to the best evidence...

To continue reading

Request your trial
56 cases
  • Gregory v. Dillard's, Inc.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Eighth Circuit
    • 20 Julio 2007
    ...create surplusage in the statute, because it gives no effect to the language "including, but not limited to." See Hadlock v. Dir. of Revenue, 860 S.W.2d 335, 337 (Mo.1993) ("[E]ach word, clause, sentence and section of a statute should be given meaning."). Dillard's interpretation also disr......
  • Rodriguez v. Suzuki Motor Corp.
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • 1 Junio 1999
    ...foundational requirements of authentication, best evidence, and hearsay for the admission of certain public documents. Hadlock v. Director of Revenue, 860 S.W.2d 335, 337 (Mo. banc 1993). Referring to section 490.220, in particular, this Court then concluded that "[s]o long as the requireme......
  • State, v. Wolfe
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • 22 Febrero 2000
    ...may be received in evidence, it must meet other foundational requirements, such as authentication and hearsay. Hadlock v. Director of Revenue, 860 S.W.2d 335, 337 (Mo. banc 1993). First, because the friend was not present to introduce or authenticate the affidavit or the statement, there wa......
  • Cox v. Director of Revenue
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • 4 Marzo 2003
    ...Court ascertains the legislature's intent by considering the plain and ordinary meaning of the words in the statute. Hadlock v. Director of Revenue, 860 S.W.2d 335, 337 (Mo. banc 1993). Absent a definition in the statute, the plain and ordinary meaning is derived from the dictionary. Ste. G......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT