Definition of Evidence

Any species of proof, or probative matter, legally presented at the trial of an issue, by the act of the parties and through the medium of witnesses, records, documents, exhibits, concrete objects, etc., for the purpose of inducing belief in the minds of the court or jury as to their contention. Taylor v. Howard, 111 R.I. 527, 304 A.2d 891, 893.

Testimony, writings, material objects, or other things presented to the senses that are offered to prove the existence or nonexistence of a fact. Calif. Evid.Code.

All the means by which any alleged matter of fact, the truth of which is submitted to investigation, is established or disproved. Any matter of fact, the effect, tendency, or design of which is to produce in the mind a persuasion of the existence or nonexistence of some matter of fact. That which demonstrates, makes clear, or ascertains the truth of the very fact or point in issue, either on the one side or on the other. That which tends to produce conviction in the mind as to existence of a fact. The means sanctioned by law of ascertaining in a judicial proceeding the truth respecting a question of fact.

As a part of procedure “evidence” signifies those rules of law whereby it is determined what testimony should be admitted and what should be rejected in each case, and what is the weight to be given to the testimony admitted. See Evidence rules.

For Presumption as evidence, see Presumption; Proof and evidence distinguished, see Proof; Testimony as synonymous or distinguishable, see Testimony; View as evidence, see View.

See also Adminicular evidence; Aliunde; Autoptic evidence; Best evidence; Beyond a reasonable doubt; Circumstantial evidence; Competent evidence; Conclusive evidence; Conflicting evidence; Corroborating evidence; Cumulative evidence; Demeanor evidence; Demonstrative evidence; Derivative evidence; Direct evidence; Documentary evidence; Extrajudicial evidence; Extraneous evidence; Extrinsic evidence; Fabricated evidence; Fact; Fair preponderance of evidence; Hearsay; Illegally obtained evidence; Immaterial evidence; Incompetent evidence; Incriminating evidence; Inculpatory; Independent source rule; Indirect evidence; Indispensable evidence; Inference; Laying foundation; Legal evidence; Legally sufficient evidence; Limited admissibility; Material evidence; Mathematical evidence; Moral evidence; Narrative evidence; Newlydiscovered evidence; Offer of proof; Opinion evidence; Oral evidence; Original document rule; Parol evidence rule; Partial evidence; Past recollection recorded; Perpetuating testimony, Physical fact rule; Positive evidence; Preliminary evidence; Preponderance; Presumption; Presumptive evidence; Prima facie evidence; Primary evidence; Prior inconsistent statements; Privileged evidence; Probable evidence; Probative evidence; Probative facts; Proof; Proper evidence; Reed evidence; Reasonable inference rule; Rebuttal evidence; Relevant evidence; Satisfactory evidence; Scintilla of evidence; Secondary evidence; Second-hand evidence; State’s evidence; Substantied evidence; Substantive evidence; Substitutionary evidence; Sufficiency of evidence; Traditionary evidence; View; Weight of evidence; Withholding of evidence.

There are, generally speaking, two types of evidence from which a jury may properly find the truth as to the facts of a case. One is direct evidenci such as the testimony of an eyewitness. The other is indirect or circumstantial evidence the proof of a chain of circumstances pointing to the existence or non-existence of certain facts. As a general rule, the law makes no distinction between direct and circumstantial evidence, but simply requires that the jury find the facts in accordance with the preponderance of all the evidence in the case, both direct and circumstantial.

Autoptic evidence. Type of evidence presented in court which consists of the thing itself and not the testimony accompanying its presentation. Articles offered in evidence which the judge or jury can see and inspect. Real evidence as contrasted with testimonial evidence; e.g. in contract action, the document purporting to be the contract itself, or the gun in a murder trial.

Character evidence. Evidence of a person’s character or traits is admissible under certain conditions in a trial, though, as a general rule, evidence of character traits are not competent to prove that a person acted in conformity therewith on a particular occasion. Fed.Evid.R. 404.

Curative admissibility. See Curative.

Exculpatory evidence. A defendant in a criminal case is entitled to evidence in possession or control of the government if such evidence tends to indicate his innocence or tends to mitigate his criminality if he demands it and if the failure to disclose it results in a denial of a fair trial. U. S. v. Agurs, 427 U.S. 97, 96 S.Ct. 2392, 49 L.Ed.2d 342. Disclosure of evidence by the government is governed by Fed.R.Crim.P. 16.

Expert evidence. Testimony given in relation to some scientific, technical, or professional matter by experts, i.e., persons qualified to speak authoritatively by reason of their special training, skill, or familiarity with the subject. See also Expert witness.

Identification evidence. See Exemplars.

Illegally obtained evidence. See Exclusionary rule; Miranda Rule; Mapp v. Ohio; McNabb-Mallory Rule; Motion to suppress; Poisonous tree doctrine. Inculpatory evidence. Evidence tending to show a person’s involvement in a crime; incriminating evidence.

Irrelevant evidence. Evidence is irrelevant if it is not so related to the issues to be tried and if it has no logical tendency to prove the issues. See also Relevant evidence, infra.

Material evidence. See Relevant evidence, infra.

Oral evidence. See Testimony.

Original evidence. See Original; Original document rule.

Preponderance of the evidence. A standard of proof (used in many civil suits) which is met when a party’s evidence on a fact indicates that it is “more likely than not” that the fact is as the party alleges it to be. See Fair preponderance of evidence.

Proffered evidence. Evidence, the admissibility or inadmissibility of which is dependent upon the existence or nonexistence of a preliminary fact. Calif. Evid.Code.

Relevant evidence. Evidence having any tendency to make the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action more probable or less probable than it would be without the evidence. Fed.Evid.R. 401. Evidence, including evidence relevant to the credibility of a witness or hearsay declarant, having any tendency in reason to prove or disprove any disputed fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action. Calif.Evid.Code. Evidence which bears a logical relationship to the issues in a trial or case.

Tangible evidence. Physical evidence; evidence that can be seen or touched, e.g., documents, weapons. Testimonitil evidence is evidence which can be heard, e.g., the statements made by anyone sitting in the witness box. See Demonstrative evidence.

That's the definition of Evidence in Black's Law Dictionary 6th Edition. Courtesy of Cekhukum.com.