Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Evidence: Study Aids and Other 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).

Study Aids

Other Books of Interest

News & Blogs

  • EvidenceProf Blog - A blog published by Colin Miller, Associate Professor of Law Univ. of South Carolina School of Law, about evidence law in the news and pop culture.
  • Federal Evidence Blog - Highlighting recent cases and issues involving the Federal Rules of Evidence and other topical evidence matters. Topics range from the new Attorney-Client Privilege Rule (FRE 502), electronic, Internet and expert evidence issues, Confrontation Clause, pending rule amendments, legislation, privilege issues, recent noteworthy cases and other issues, practical tips, "Supreme Court Watch" entries and more.
  • Federal Rules of Evidence Newsletter (Westlaw) - The Federal Rules of Evidence Newsletter carefully surveys new opinions on the federal, state and military evidence codes and digests the most significant ones for the News -- sometimes with a brief critique. Unlike most treatises and law review articles, the News can cover opinions only a few weeks old.
  • New York Times: DNA Evidence News - News about DNA Evidence, including commentary and archival articles published in The New York Times.

Websites

Electronic Databases

  • eDiscovery Resource Center (BNA) - Bloomberg BNA's eDiscovery Resource Center integrates exclusive legal analysis and practice tools from the nation's leading digital discovery experts together with our renowned news coverage, research tools, and comprehensive primary source information.  
  • Expert Evidence Report (BNA) - Expert Evidence Report monitors the latest federal and state news and guidance relating to expert evidence -- including court rulings on discoverability, admissibility, and sufficiency of expert evidence, Daubert hearings, legislative proposals, and changes to federal rules -- in all litigation areas.