Article VI. Witnesses
Rule 612: Writing used to refresh memory.
If a witness uses a writing while testifying to refresh memory for the purpose of testifying, an adverse party is entitled to inspect it, to cross-examine the witness thereon, and to introduce in evidence those portions which relate to the testimony of the witness. If it is claimed that the writing contains matters not related to the subject matter of the testimony, the court shall examine the writing in camera, excise any portions not so related, and order delivery of the remainder to the party entitled thereto. Any portion withheld over objections shall be preserved and made available to the appellate court in the event of appeal. If a writing is not produced or delivered pursuant to order under this rule, the court shall make any order justice requires; in criminal cases when the prosecution elects not to comply, the order shall be one striking the testimony or, if the court in its discretion determines that the interests of justice so require, declaring a mistrial.
Advisory Commission Comments.
Tennessee trial lawyers have long used this procedure for refreshing a witness's recollection, and this rule simply reflects traditional law. Only writings used "while testifying" are subject to opposing counsel's inspection. See also T.R.Crim.P. 26.2.
Only if a witness's memory requires refreshing should a writing be used by the witness. The direct examiner should lay a foundation for necessity, show the witness the writing, take back the writing, and ask the witness to testify from refreshed memory.Back to Top