Contact Us Today
Office LocationKamerow Law Firm, PLLC
5001 Seminary Road, Suite 110
Alexandria, VA 22311
In any legal case contested in any courtroom, evidence is needed to win. Without evidence, no case will even get past the initial stages. The adage, “it is not what you know, it is what you can prove,” holds true in the world of legal cases because the proceedings in a courtroom utilize evidence to recreate or otherwise shed light on the real world events that gave rise to the case. Evidence exists in one of three forms: witness testimony, an object, or a document.
The judge decides what evidence will be admitted, and follows the rules of evidence in the given jurisdiction to do so. The rules of evidence in any given jurisdiction closely follow the Federal Rules of Evidence. According to FRE rule 402, all relevant evidence is admissible, unless a specific rule keeps it out. FRE rule 401 says that “[e]vidence is relevant if: (a) it has any tendency to make a fact more or less probable than it would be without the evidence; and (b) the fact is of consequence in determining the action. In common parlance, this means that the evidence must help in some way to prove a claim and the claim must have something to do with the outcome of the case.
The law craves to admit as much evidence as possible because evidence helps to re-enact or otherwise bring understanding to the events around which the case revolves. In short, it brings truth. However, some evidence can counteract the functionality of the legal proceedings and is therefore not admitted. FRE rule 403 will allow the judge to refuse admission of evidence if, despite having relevant value in proving the case, that same evidence tends to create some unfair prejudice, create confusion of the issue, mislead the jury, or simply waste time. This rule evaluates the comparative weight of the evidence in proving the case versus creating one of the above counterproductive situations.
In criminal cases, evidence that constitutes “fruit of the forbidden tree” is inadmissible. This refers to evidence that was obtained by the government in violation of a person’s rights. An example is evidence that was found pursuant to an unreasonable search in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.
Get Competent Legal Representation to Ensure Your Case is Proven
Regardless of what actually happened to prompt a legal cause of action, legal cases pivot on the evidence presented in the courtroom and the impact that evidence has on a jury. Since the jury was not there when the events in question occurred, they must rely on the evidence presented to comprehend the events in contention.