Evidence in Criminal Cases Essay Sample

Evidence in Criminal Cases


Evidence refers to the information, material or object that is provided to support a claim that an event took place indeed or who masterminded it. For instance, in a law court, when a suspect is summoned for a trial, the prosecutor may offer exhibits of stuff confiscated from the accused or may parade people to offer testimony that they saw the accused committing the crime (Federal Rules of Evidence, 2015). The essay seeks to explain the various types of evidence and their usage during an investigation. These include physical evidence, demonstration evidence, direct evidence, circumstantial evidence as well as determining the admissibility of the overwhelming evidence.

Physical Evidence

Physical evidence is information that has tangible nature and relates directly to the crime in question, and thus, it can be used as a proof that that a crime occurred or that the person who left the evidence is responsible for the felony. Tangible evidence refers to blood, fingerprints, and crime tools such as knives, gun, and crowbar among others. The evidence also relates to as the forensic or scientific evidence and its admissibility requires thorough analysis and the interpretation of results (Police Criminal Investigations, 2016). The significance of the evidence is establishing the element of a crime, for instance, a broken window may signify the occurrence of a burglary in a residence or office. The evidence is also important as it forms the basis for linking victims, offenders and instruments to crime scenes, and offenders to instruments (Police Criminal Investigations, 2016). For example, if a body is found with a sword wound, it can be linked to an abandoned farm house that has a bloody sword inside.

Demonstrative Evidence

Demonstrative evidence entails the exhibits/illustrations to clarify or support an oral testimony or to depict a creation of a tangible occurrence. The evidence includes the use of models, maps, charts, photographs, and video among others (Peterson, 2010). The evidence lacks probable value, and thus, it can only assist the jury to understand or have a clear picture of the physical evidence. Videos consist of recorded clips that show the crime taking place or the aftermath of the action. The video is used to support the testimony offered by the witness. By watching the video, the judge obtains a clear picture of what the suspect is alleged to have done. The jury receives the details of the alleged act, and thus, he is in a better position to decide whether the suspect committed the crime or not but not solely relying on the video (Peterson, 2010). The video may be from Closed Circuit Television Camera footage or a record by a hidden cameraman. A photograph refers to a snapshot of the suspect at the crime scene or the scene of the crime. The pictures help a trier of fact to have a clear image of the crime or the suspect's presence in the crime scene. However, the jury cannot solely rely on photos to implicate the accused because they support the testimony given in the court for illustration purposes only (Peterson 2010).

Direct Vs Circumstantial Evidence

Direct evidence has a foundation of witness' personal knowledge or an observation of the case. For instance, if the witness saw the suspect assaulting the victim, the crime is in the witness' real experience. The jury can question the credibility of the witness but cannot change the direct nature of their testimony. The evidence is also known as eyewitness testimony and of late, it has incorporated videos, photos, and audio recordings (Criminal Justice Instructions, 2012). On the contrary, circumstantial evidence is somehow complicated as the witness has no observation of the actual criminal act but only observes incidences related to the act. For instance, a witness may see a suspect entering the house of a victim while armed with a panga but did not see the accused slashing the victim. However, he heard screams and upon responding, the accused ran away and the victim was found slashed. Such testimony, therefore, bases on inference, and thus, it is a direct evidence of a fact that infers that the culprit committed the felony. Such evidence, therefore, represents a collection of facts that enables the judge to decide whether the accused committed the crime or not (Criminal Justice Instruction, 2012).

The Utility of Overwhelming Circumstantial Evidence

Overwhelming circumstantial evidence represents a strong circumstantial evidence, that is, a strong representation of incidents related to the actual crime. For instance, in a case of mass shooting, the police may fail to identify the culprit physically but after collecting a number of bullets or cartridges and conducting ballistic tests, they may identify the gun that fired the shots, and thus, accuse the owner of the weapon. The overwhelming circumstantial evidence may have equal weight as direct evidence greatly influencing decisions. Through reasoning, common sense, and experience, it is possible to decide that a fact is proven by circumstantial evidence and thus, the court may use the evidence to determine the guilt or innocence of the accused (Criminal Jury Instructions, 2012).


In conclusion, the evidence is the information or material that is availed in a court of law to prove that a crime occurred. There are several types of evidence that include physical evidence, demonstration evidence, direct evidence, circumstantial evidence. Physical evidence is the tangible information that shows the element of a crime or helps to create links between various subjects in a crime. Demonstrative evidence involves illustrations to back witness testimonies, and thus, the jury cannot rely on it only. Direct evidence is the supporting information based on the witness' real experience while circumstantial evidence is based on a witness' observation of incidents related to the crime. Overwhelming circumstantial evidence can be used to determine a case basing on experience, reasoning, and common sense.

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