Direct & Circumstantial Evidence – It snowed last night?
If you went to bed without snow on the ground; slept soundly all night and awoke to a snow covered ground all around you, what could you reasonable say?
It snowed. You did not have to actually see the activity of snow falling; your good and reasonable judgment tells you it is true.
This is an example of “circumstantial evidence”.
Brian Denney, a Board Certified Trial Lawyer, discusses the concepts of circumstantial and direct evidence in this new video from Searcy Law Video:
Direct evidence can be, for example, when a person standing on the corner of an intersection witnesses the actual occurrence of an automobile accident and is able to testify about what she saw.
Is one form of evidence better than another? Is direct evidence a more reliable type of evidence because it may come from an eyewitness?
Imagine you are in your house and looked out the window into your neighbor’s only to see your neighbor holding a gun and you then hear a shot fired. Later you discover that someone in your neighbor’s house was shot. What is your inescapable conclusion? Your neighbor shot someone in his house. What you did not know is that a burglar was out of sight and is the person who actually fired a gun in your neighbor’s house.
As Brian Denney says, the NFL is a good example for how “eyewitness testimony” can fail us. There would be no need for instant replay if the referees saw things correctly every time.
Often cases are proved by a series of circumstantial facts and evidence that, put all together, leads to a reasonable and reliable conclusion. Circumstantial proof often relies on inferences, facts and testimony that, once put together, leads to a reasonable and reliable conclusion.
Watch the video for more.