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legalese please

Posted by on August 27, 2011

As a point of reference as we discuss evidence, keep these definitions from the 6th edition of  Black’s Law Dictionary (affiliate link) handy:

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.

Proof: The effect of evidence; the establishment of a fact by evidence.

Evidence and proof distinguished: Proof is the logically sufficient reason for assenting to the truth of a proposition advanced….But “evidence” is a narrower term, and includes only such kinds of proof as may be legally presented at a trial, by the act of the parties, through the aid of such concrete facts as witnesses, records, or other documents. Thus, to urge a presumption of law in support of one’s case is adducing proof, but it is not offering evidence. “Belief” is a subjective condition resulting from proof. It is a conviction of the truth of pa proposition, existing in the mind, and induced by persuasion, proof, or argument addressed to the judgment. Proof is the result or effect of evidence, while evidence is the medium or means by which a fact is proved or disproved, but the words “proof” and “evidence” may be used interchangeably. Proof is the perfection of evidence; for without evidence there is no proof, although there may be evidence which does not amount to proof…


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