Substitutes for Evidence

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Substitutes for Evidence

During a trial there may come a time that a jury is specifically told what facts to believe instead of having both attorneys introducing evidence to them. The three categories that these facts fall under are called stipulation, judicial notice and presumptions (Hails 2009).

A stipulation is an agreement between both attorneys that a one or more facts exist in regards to the case (Hails 2009). A written document stating the stipulation is introduced in court if the agreement was made before trial. If the agreement is made during the trial then a oral record will be established. When the agreement is made to judge will make a statement to the jurors and then once again during the jury instructions (Hails 2009).

When the trial judge decides to tell the jury to conclude that a fact exists is called judicial notice. “The jury is required to follow the instruction in civil cases, but it is only advisory in criminal cases” (Hails 2009). The main reason to use judicial notice is to expedite the trial by exposing commonly known facts. It is presumed that commonly known facts are those of the location and community including the scientific community.

Presumption is a conclusion that the law requires the jury to draw from facts that have been established at trial. There are two constitutional limitations on presumptions in criminal cases: it must be based on a logical assumption and when used by the prosecution the fact must be established beyond a reasonable doubt. A presumption requires the jury to conclude that the presumed fact is true if the jury believes the basic fact has been established. In all presumptions, the opposing side can try to convince the jury that the fact did not occur. Presumptions are mainly used in order to enforce social policy.
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