You are right about there being only direct (i.e. eye-witness) or circumstantial evidence. But as circumstantial evidence includes fingerprints, DNA, ballistics and other forensic evidence then circumstantial evidence carries far more weight.
Conviction on eye-witness evidence alone is notoriously unsafe, but sufficient circumstantial evidence (while not perfect) can establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
You used to hear on TV shows 'There are no witnesses, they only have circumstantial evidence.` as though that meant the cops had nothing much. But that could include finding the victim`s body in your freezer, their blood on your clothes and in your hair, your fingerprints around their throat, your skin under their fingernails, a bullet from your gun in their skull, a hand-written list of `How I plan to kill X` in your journal and your ad on Craigslist. All circumstantial, but you`re going down.
Friday, December 7, 2012 10:50:00 PM
FYI, there are only 2 kinds of evidence: eyewitness testimony and circumstantial evidence. It usually requires a combination of both to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
BTW, I always get out of jury duty by telling them about the time a cop committed perjury to convict me of a traffic violation. I've never been picked.
Friday, December 7, 2012 10:38:18 PM
"slightly off-topic, but a better way to get out of jury duty is to show up to court in a Star Fleet uniform. google it; it happened in federal court in Little Rock several years ago."
Actually, that woman served as an alternate on the Whitewater jury in her uniform just fine. Well, until she broke the media gag rule because she couldn't resist talking to them about Star Trek. I happened to watch a doc film about Trekkies last night and she was a big part of it. Every day she showed up for court there were paparazzi waiting for her to see if she would still wear her uniform. She also wore her uniform to work at Sir Speedy and everyone there had to call her "Commander". Her bosses said she was odd but a good sort of odd that made her care about doing a good job. So that made her a good worker and A-ok with them.
Friday, December 7, 2012 7:49:56 PM
Convicting some one based only on eyewitness testimony is like believing in a story just because some one wrote it in a book. Repeatable empirical evidence is required for something to be scientific, it should be required for a conviction as well.
Friday, December 7, 2012 6:26:44 PM
slightly off-topic, but a better way to get out of jury duty is to show up to court in a Star Fleet uniform. google it; it happened in federal court in Little Rock several years ago.