63 Op. Att'y Gen. 605 (1974)
 
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Wisconsin Attorney General Opinions

31 December 1974.

Public Records;

A copy of an official record may be admitted
in evidence if it is certified as correct in
accordance with Section 909.02(4), Wisconsin
Rules of Evidence, even though the
certification does not comply with the
provisions of Section 889.08(1), Stats.

NORMAN M. CLAPP, Secretary,
Department of Transportation

Section 889.08(1), Stats., provides that, in
certifying a copy of a public record, the
custodian thereof shall certify that the copy
has been compared "by him" with the original
and found to be a true copy.

In
Stevens v. Clark County Supervisors (1877),
43 Wis. 36,
the court held that a certification without
the words "by him" is insufficient as a
certification under this statute.

Your question is whether a certification
without the words "by him" but in compliance
with Section 909.02(4), Wisconsin Rules of
Evidence, 59 Wis.2d R p. 341, would be
sufficient to authenticate a copy so
that it could be admitted into evidence.

The answer is yes.

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Section 909.02, Wisconsin Rules of Evidence,
reads in part:

909.02 Self-authentication.

   Extrinsic evidence of authenticity as a
   condition precedent to admissibility is
   not required with respect to the
   following:

909.02(1) PUBLIC DOCUMENTS UNDER SEAL.

   A document bearing a seal purporting to
   be that of the United States, or of any
   state, district, commonwealth,
   territory, or insular possession
   thereof, or the Panama Canal Zone, or
   the Trust Territory of the Pacific
   Islands, or of a political subdivision,
   department, officer or agency thereof,
   and a signature purporting to be an
   attestation or execution. . . . . .

909.02(4) CERTIFIED COPIES OF PUBLIC RECORDS.

   A copy of an official record or report
   or entry therein, or of a document
   authorized by law to be recorded or
   filed and actually recorded or filed in
   a public office, including data
   compilations in any form, certified as
   correct by the custodian or other person
   authorized to make the certification, by
   certificate complying with Subsection
   (1), (2) or (3) or complying with any
   statute or rule adopted by the supreme
   court.

This rule provides that extrinsic
evidence of authenticity as a condition
precedent to admissibility is not
required with respect to a copy of an
official record, where it is certified
as correct by the custodian thereof by a
certificate complying with Subsection
(1) or complying with any statute or
supreme court rule.

The Judicial Council Committee's Note on
Subsection (4) of this section,

59 Wis.2d Rp. 344, provides in part:

   Sub (4).

   The manner of certification provided in
   this subsection is different from that
   provided for in Section 889.08; however,
   there is no need to amend Section 889.08

Thus it is clear that this rule
provides an alternate method for certifying
copies of official records.

The certificate may comply with
a statute, such as Section 889.08(1), Stats.,
for example.

However, a certificate may also comply with
Subsection (1) of the above rule, in which
case it need not comply with the statute.

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For the certificate to comply with Subsection
(1) of the rule it need only bear the seal of
a state department and a signature purporting
to be an attestation or execution.

The copy need only be certified as correct by
the custodian of the original record.

There is no requirement that the custodian
must state that the copy has been compared
by him with the original.

It is, therefore, my opinion that a copy of
an official record may be admitted in
evidence if it is certified as correct in
accordance with Section 909.02(4), Wisconsin
Rules of Evidence, even though the
certification does not comply with the
provisions of Section 889.08(1), Stats.

The Administrator of the Division of
Motor Vehicles need not personally
sign his name to such certificates.

Section 110.015, Stats., specifically
authorizes him, through his authorized
employes, to execute or affix his signature
to a certificate with a stamp, reproduction
print, or other similar process.

Preparation of copies and certificates, and
affixing the seal and signature involves no
discretion and is purely ministerial.

The law is clear that such ministerial
duties can be delegated by the
Administrator to his subordinates.

73 C.J.S.,
Public Administrative Bodies and Procedure,
Section 57, page 381;

School District v. Callahan (1941),
237 Wis. 560, 577,
297 N.W. 407;

Park Bldg. Corp. v. Industrial Com. (1960),
9 Wis.2d 78, 86,
100 N.W.2d 571.

BCL:AOH

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