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Admissible Evidence in Criminal Law

A series of robberies and murders was occurring in the city. In three of these robberies, the robber staked out small businesses and after obtaining cash, shot the owner. There were no live witnesses to the crimes, no videos of the crime, and no fingerprints or DNA evidence. In a fourth robbery, the owner of a small grocery store was critically wounded but was alive and conscious enough to give an excellent description of the perpetrator. He then clearly identified the man from a photo array. Because of the critical condition of the victim, and immediate preliminary hearing was scheduled after the suspect was arrested and charged. The judge , the defense lawyer, and the prosecutor (with other court attendants) conducted the preliminary hearing in the hospital rooom of the victim in the presence of the defendant. Pain medication was withheld for a day from the victim at his request. The victim clearly identified the defendant as the robber was responded to cross-examination by the defense lawyer. An early trial date was set, but the victim died before the trial.

1. Neither the shooting nor the murder weapons were recovered, the trial began with no other evidence other than the testimony of the victim. Can the testimony of the deceased victim be used as evidence? Why?

2. The series of robberies and murders stopped with the arrest of the defendant. Can this be used as evidence?

3. "Ballistic fingerprints" were available, but no murder weapons were found that could be matched to the prints. Can the defendant be convicted of the other robberies and murders based on the available evidence?

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On the testimony of the deceased victim:

Yes, the testimony of the deceased victim can be used as evidence. There are several reasons for this. First, the victim had stopped pain killer medication a day before the testimony in the hospital. Second, the judge along with the defense lawyer and the prosecutor with court attendants were present during his testimony. Third, he was cross-examined by the defense lawyers. Fourth, the robber was clearly identified. Fifth, the victim identified the perpetrator from a photo array.

His testimony will be treated as if made in court and will stand as critical evidence in the ...

Solution Summary

In the context of a series of robberies and murders, the importance of murder weapons, circumstantial evidence and ballistic fingerprints were examined. An important posting in criminal law.