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Standards of evidence: What are some important cases?

 
 
Thomas
 
Reply Tue 26 Oct, 2010 09:07 am
Since I'm interested in public affairs and enjoy discussing them, I envy American jurists for their language about standards of evidence. It's precise, yet non-technical enough to be used in a casual conversation. So I'd like to learn more.

Which leads me to my question: Is there a reasonably compact set of cases that gave specific definitions to the terms "probable cause", "preponderance of the evidence", "clear and convincing evidence", and "beyond all reasonable doubt"? And, is there a legal theory matching legal consequences to the minimal standards of evidence a court should require? If so, I'd be interested in hearing about them.
 
joefromchicago
 
  3  
Reply Tue 26 Oct, 2010 06:46 pm
@Thomas,
You could start here. Or do a Google search for "evidence outline" or "criminal law outline." Seems like every law student nowadays posts their outlines on-line. Back in my day we posted our course outlines on cave walls.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Oct, 2010 09:36 pm
@joefromchicago,
That does indeed look like a good starting point. Thanks!
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jespah
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Oct, 2010 06:02 am
You should probably also Google important 4th Amendment cases, as search and seizure issues tend to impact what can be used to prove a criminal matter (there can be helpful obiter dicta in those).
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Oct, 2010 12:41 pm
@jespah,
Thanks. Actually, Findlaw's annotated constitution seems like an even better source on "important 4th Amendment cases".

Here's their page for the Fourth Amendment
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Oct, 2010 01:14 pm
@Thomas,
Niiiice. Lotsa stuff on things like "fruit of the poisonous tree".
0 Replies
 
wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Oct, 2010 01:42 pm
@Thomas,
Can I use your thread to ask a related question, Thomas?

In U.S. courts, what status is given to "circumstantial evidence"? Popular culture tends to view "circumstantial evidence" as something that would be barred from court (but I don't think that is strictly true).
Ticomaya
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Oct, 2010 01:53 pm
@wandeljw,
It should be given less weight than direct evidence, but it's still admissible.
wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Oct, 2010 02:14 pm
@Ticomaya,
Thanks, Tico!
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Oct, 2010 02:46 pm
@wandeljw,
wandeljw wrote:
Can I use your thread to ask a related question, Thomas?

I think you just did. Smile

(No problem.)
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Oct, 2010 03:03 pm
@wandeljw,
wandeljw wrote:
In U.S. courts, what status is given to "circumstantial evidence"? Popular culture tends to view "circumstantial evidence" as something that would be barred from court (but I don't think that is strictly true).

In common parlance, "circumstantial evidence" means the same thing as "unreliable evidence." That, however, is not accurate. If you put a rat and a piece of cheese in a sealed box, and later break the seal and open the box to find the rat but not the cheese, that's pretty good circumstantial evidence that the rat ate the cheese. Circumstantial evidence, in other words, is still evidence. As long as it's admissible, the fact-finder (usually the jury) gives it the weight that it deems appropriate.
0 Replies
 
 

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