A conviction in criminal court depends on whether the jury arrives at guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Proving or disproving the case often depends on the evidence presented. Whether in state or federal court, a prosecutor will reveal evidence that supports a guilty verdict, and a defense attorney may submit evidence supporting innocence while also challenging the prosecutor’s evidence. The types of evidence entered into the record can vary.
Evidence in criminal court proceedings
Physical evidence is the most compelling in many criminal cases. DNA that matches a suspect to a crime scene would be difficult to challenge, for example. On the other hand, recovering the suspect’s gun at a crime scene doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she was the person who dropped the weapon. Additional physical evidence might be more conclusive, however, such as security camera footage that captured the suspect dropping the gun.
Documentary evidence and demonstrative evidence might factor into the case. Diagrams or news reports supporting the prosecutor’s case may find their way into evidence if the court allows it.
Concerns about evidence
A criminal defense strategy may attempt to cast doubt on evidence presented in court. Eyewitness testimony, for example, may suffer from credibility issues upon cross-examination. A defense attorney might prove that the witness’s memory is faulty or did not see things clearly.
Physical evidence could be weaker than initially believed, making the evidence inconclusive. Video footage might be too grainy to deliver an identification, and fingerprints may reflect poor law enforcement collection tactics. When juries find problems with the evidence, they may have a hard time arriving at a guilty verdict.
Illegally obtained evidence may never find its way into court. The judge could agree to a motion to suppress evidence obtained unlawfully, potentially ruining the prosecutor’s case. If there is not enough evidence, the defendant might have their charges reduced or dismissed entirely.