circumstantial evidence
circumstantial evidence see evidence

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law. . 1996.

circumstantial evidence
n.
Evidence drawn from inference or deduction; secondary evidence. See also direct evidence, indirect evidence

The Essential Law Dictionary. — Sphinx Publishing, An imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. . 2008.


circumstantial evidence
in the law of evidence, indirect evidence of a fact in issue. An inference of the fact in issue can be made from a consideration of a number of other facts. It is sometimes spoken of as a chain but better considered as a cable: the more strands, the stronger, and the absence of one of the strands does not break the connection. The lay person often considers it in some way inferior, but not the lawyer, who appreciates the difficulties inherent in direct eyewitness evidence. Nonetheless, it is only as good as the strands that comprise it. These may have to be evaluated in their own right, otherwise a sound inference may be based on a defective premise, as where Othello, asking for proof of Desdemona's infidelity, was answered by Iago:
'It is impossible you should see this, Were they as prime as goats, as hot as monkeys, As salt as wolves in pride, and fools as gross As ignorance made drunk: but yet I say, If imputation and strong circumstances, Which lead directly to the door of truth, Will give you satisfaction, you might have it.' (Act 3, Scene 3, line 400)

Collins dictionary of law. . 2001.


circumstantial evidence
Evidence that proves a fact by means of an inference. For example, from the evidence that a person was seen running away from the scene of a crime, a judge or jury may infer that the person committed the crime. Usually, many pieces of circumstantial evidence are needed before a judge or jury will find that they add up to proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Compare: direct evidence
Category: Criminal Law
Category: Small Claims Court & Lawsuits

Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary. . 2009.


circumstantial evidence

Webster's New World Law Dictionary. . 2000.


circumstantial evidence
Information and testimony presented by a party in a civil or criminal action that permit conclusions that indirectly establish the existence or nonexistence of a fact or event that the party seeks to prove.

Dictionary from West's Encyclopedia of American Law. 2005.


circumstantial evidence
I
Information and testimony presented by a party in a civil or criminal action that permit conclusions that indirectly establish the existence or nonexistence of a fact or event that the party seeks to prove.
II All evidence except eyewitness testimony. One example is physical evidence, such as fingerprints, from which an inference can be drawn.

Short Dictionary of (mostly American) Legal Terms and Abbreviations.

circumstantial evidence
n.
   evidence in a trial which is not directly from an eyewitness or participant and requires some reasoning to prove a fact. There is a public perception that such evidence is weak ("all they have is circumstantial evidence"), but the probable conclusion from the circumstances may be so strong that there can be little doubt as to a vital fact ("beyond a reasonable doubt" in a criminal case, and "a preponderance of the evidence" in a civil case). Particularly in criminal cases, "eyewitness" ("I saw Frankie shoot Johnny") type evidence is often lacking and may be unreliable, so circumstantial evidence becomes essential. Prior threats to the victim, fingerprints found at the scene of the crime, ownership of the murder weapon, and the accused being seen in the neighborhood, certainly point to the suspect as being the killer, but each bit of evidence is circumstantial.
   See also: evidence

Law dictionary. . 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Circumstantial evidence — circumstantial cir cum*stan tial (s[ e]r k[u^]m*st[a^]n shal), a. [Cf. F. circonstanciel.] [1913 Webster] 1. Consisting in, or pertaining to, circumstances or particular incidents. [1913 Webster] The usual character of human testimony is… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Circumstantial evidence — Evidence Ev i*dence, n. [F. [ e]vidence, L. Evidentia. See {Evident}.] 1. That which makes evident or manifest; that which furnishes, or tends to furnish, proof; any mode of proof; the ground of belief or judgement; as, the evidence of our… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • circumstantial evidence — n. Law that evidence which is offered to prove certain attendant circumstances from which the existence of the fact at issue may be inferred; indirect evidence …   English World dictionary

  • Circumstantial evidence — For other uses, see Circumstantial Evidence (disambiguation). Circumstantial evidence is evidence in which an inference is required to connect it to a conclusion of fact, like a fingerprint at the scene of a crime. By contrast, direct evidence… …   Wikipedia

  • circumstantial evidence — proof of facts offered as evidence from which other facts are to be inferred (contrasted with direct evidence). Also called indirect evidence. [1730 40] * * * In law, evidence that is drawn not from direct observation of a fact at issue but from… …   Universalium

  • circumstantial evidence — noun evidence providing only a basis for inference about the fact in dispute • Syn: ↑indirect evidence • Ant: ↑direct evidence • Topics: ↑law, ↑jurisprudence • Hypernyms: ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • circumstantial evidence — /ˌsɜkəmstænʃəl ˈɛvədəns/ (say .serkuhmstanshuhl evuhduhns) noun proof of facts offered as evidence from which other facts are to be inferred; indirect evidence: *Circumstantial evidence isn t worth a cracker in court, on something like this.… …   Australian English dictionary

  • circumstantial evidence — evidence which shows a relation to other evidence and not directly to the crime itself …   English contemporary dictionary

  • circumstantial evidence — noun Date: 1736 evidence that tends to prove a fact by proving other events or circumstances which afford a basis for a reasonable inference of the occurrence of the fact at issue …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • circumstantial evidence — cir′cumstan′tial ev′idence n. law proof of facts offered as evidence from which other facts are to be inferred • Etymology: 1730–40 …   From formal English to slang

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