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Evidence: Statutes and Practice Materials

Evidence resources for students, bar examinees, and other researchers.

Useful Definitions

Admissibility: The quality or state of being allowed to be entered into evidence in a hearing, trial, or other official proceeding.

Authentication: Broadly, the act of proving that something (as a document) is true or genuine, especially so that it may be admitted as evidence; the condition of being so proved.

Burden of Proof: A party's duty to prove a disputed assertion or charge.

Clear and Convincing Evidence: Evidence indicating that the thing to be proved is highly probable or reasonably certain.

Demonstrative Evidence: Physical evidence that one can see and inspect (i.e. an explanatory aid, such as a chart, map, and some computer simulations) and that, while of probative value and usually offered to clarify testimony, does not play a direct part in the incident in question.

Exhibits: A document, record, or other tangible object formally introduced as evidence in court.

Finder(s) of Fact: One or more persons—such as jurors in a trial or administrative-law judges in a hearing—who hear testimony and review evidence to rule on a factual issue.

Hearsay: Traditionally, testimony that is given by a witness who relates not what he or she knows personally, but what others have said, and that is therefore dependent on the credibility of someone other than the witness. In federal law, a statement (either a verbal assertion or nonverbal assertive conduct), other than one made by the declarant while testifying at the trial or hearing, offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted.

Preponderance of the Evidence: The greater weight of the evidence, not necessarily established by the greater number of witnesses testifying to a fact but by evidence that has the most convincing force; superior evidentiary weight that, though not sufficient to free the mind wholly from all reasonable doubt, is still sufficient to incline a fair and impartial mind to one side of the issue rather than the other.

Reasonable Doubt: The doubt that prevents one from being firmly convinced of a defendant's guilt, or the belief that there is a real possibility that a defendant is not guilty. “Beyond a reasonable doubt” is the standard used by a jury to determine whether a criminal defendant is guilty.

All definitions come from Black’s Law Dictionary (11th ed. 2019).


Electronic Treatises

  • Courtroom Handbook on Federal Evidence (Westlaw) - Courtroom Handbook on Federal Evidence provides immediate and reliable access to the Federal Rules of Evidence, along with author commentary and links to relevant authority.
  • Federal Courtroom Evidence (LexisNexis) - One of the most important tools that any litigating attorney must have is a thorough knowledge of the law of evidence. The practitioner and the judge look for a quick, handy reference which discusses in reasonably understandable language the rules of evidence.
  • Federal Evidence (Mueller & Kirkpatrick) (Westlaw) - Federal Evidence provides analytical text treatment of the Federal Rules of Evidence, organized on a rule-by-rule approach.
  • Federal Rules of Evidence (Treatise) (Westlaw) - Federal Rules of Evidence provides the text of each rule of evidence, analysis, commentary and legislative history.
  • Jones on Evidence (Westlaw) - This comprehensive evidence reference integrates coverage of the Federal Rules of Evidence and the latest revised Federal Rules of Procedure. New volumes incorporate a multitude of significant decisions and feature expanded coverage of exclusionary law. Includes how-to-do-it outlines overseeing every step and concise statements of each rule, including their variations. Also provides guidance on how to apply the rules, and cautions on the methods of presentations found to be inadmissible.
  • McCormick on Evidence (Westlaw) - McCormick on Evidence is a comprehensive and authoritative analysis of the rules and theory of the law of evidence with a pragmatic approach.
  • Trial Evidence (Westlaw) - Full text of the loose-leaf publication authored by Thomas A. Mauet and Warren D. Wolfson, and published by Aspen Publishers, Inc., offering insight on the actual application of evidentiary rules in the courtroom.