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Criminal Evidence Prepared by Dr. Charles L. Feer Department of Criminal Justice Bakersfield College.

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Presentation on theme: "Criminal Evidence Prepared by Dr. Charles L. Feer Department of Criminal Justice Bakersfield College."— Presentation transcript:


2 Criminal Evidence Prepared by Dr. Charles L. Feer Department of Criminal Justice Bakersfield College

3 Aspects of the Criminal Justice System Participants: Court Room Players Process: Anatomy of a trial Evidence of proof: - Circumstantial - Inferences - Presumptions - Stipulations

4 Court Room Players Judge Clerk Reporter Bailiff Prosecutor Defense Attorney Defendant Jury

5 Anatomy of a Trial Prosecution’s evidence-in-chief Defense’s evidence- in-chief Prosecution’s evidence in rebuttal Defense’s evidence in rejoinder

6 Step-by-Step: The Trial Process Opening Statement Case-in-Chief Direct Examination Cross Examination Motion for Judgment of Acquittal Closing Statements Prosecution’s Rebuttal Statement

7 Evidence can be defined in four different ways: The Lay Person’s Definition The Legal Definition The Technical Definition The Law Enforcement Officer’s Definition

8 The Lay Person’s Definition of Evidence Evidence is information that people base decisions on and is used as the means by which those facts are proved or disproved.

9 The Legal Definition of Evidence In a legal sense, evidence is any information about the facts of a case, including tangible items, testimony, and documents, photographs, or tapes, which, when presented to the jury at trial, tends to prove or disprove these facts.

10 The Technical Definition of Evidence Technically, evidence consists of: Testimony or physical items presented to the judge and jury that they use to. decide the truth of an assertion, the existence of a fact, and. ultimately the guilt or innocence of the accused in a criminal case.

11 The Law Enforcement Officer’s Definition or View of Evidence. Evidence, to the officer, is: Articles collected at a crime scene; Items found on a suspect, or in the suspect's car or home; Things discovered during investigation.

12 Evidence of Proof Circumstantial Inferences Presumptions Stipulations

13 Circumstantial Evidence Evidence which proves a fact through inference, or logical association with other facts.

14 Inference Is the drawing of a conclusion from an observation or series of observations

15 Presumptions A presumption permits the fact-finder to conclude that, because a party has introduced evidence that one fact exists ["basic fact"], the jury may conclude that another fact ["presumed fact"] exists, even though the party has not introduced any other evidence of the existence of the presumed fact.

16 The Supreme Court’s Test for Presumptions The Court has declared that, at a minimum, the presumed fact must flow from the basic fact measured by a standard of a preponderance of evidence.

17 Stipulations There are other facts that may be presented during a trial without formal proof being required. These are facts upon which the parties and their attorneys agree. This agreement may take place either before or during the trial. Once agreement has been reached, it will not be necessary to call witnesses to present the facts.

18 The Funnel Effect of the Standard of Proof

19 The Spectrum of the Standards of Proof. Can you tell when each standard applies? Preponderance of the evidence Mere hunch Reasonable suspicion Probable cause Clear and convincing evidence Absolute certainty Beyond a reasonable doubt Arrange them in order. See next slide.

20 Burden of Proof

21 A Case Law Definition of Reasonable Doubt It is not a mere possible doubt; because everything relating to human affairs is open to some possible or imaginary doubt. It is that state of the case which, after the entire comparison and consideration of all the evidence, leaves the minds of the jurors in that condition that they cannot say they feel an abiding conviction of the truth of the charge. Victor v. Nebraska, 511 U.S. 1 (1994)


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