5 Hill & Den. 182

Wilson vs. Kirkland.

A witness having no previous knowledge of the hand-writing of a party, cannot be permitted to testify as to its authenticity from a mere comparison of hands in . court.

Error to Onondaga C. P. Kirkland sued Wilson before a justice of the peace on a promissory note. The plaintiff gave evidence tending to show that the note was made by the defendant, and among other things produced a letter written by the defendant. When the letter was produced, T. T. Davis, a witness for the plaintiff, testified that he should think the signature to the note and the letter the same. The defendant objected to this evidence on the ground that it was incompetent to prove the signature of the defendant by a comparison of hands. The justice gave judgment for the plaintiff, which the O. P. affirmed on certiorari. The defendant brought a writ of error.

D. Pratt, for the plaintiff in error.

T. T. Davis, for the defendant in error.

By the Court, Bronson, J.

The witness, without any previous knowledge on the subject, spoke from a comparison in court of the hand-writing to the letter and the note. He thought, on inspection, that the signature to both was the same. It must, I think, be regarded as a settled question in this state that such *183evidence is not admissible. (Jackson v. Phillips, 9 Cow. 94; Tilford v. Knott, 2 John. Cas. 211; Jackson v. Van Dusen, 5 John. R. 155.) A different rule prevails in some of the states. (See the cases collected in Cowen & Hill’s Notes to Phill. Ev. 1326 to 1331.) But we have followed the English decisions.

Judgment reversed.

Wilson v. Kirkland
5 Hill & Den. 182

Case Details

Wilson v. Kirkland
Decision Date
May 1, 1843

5 Hill & Den. 182

New York



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