Explore BrainMass

Criminal Procedures and Evidence Types

Distinguish the difference between demonstrative and documentary evidence.

Describe challenges to using both types of evidence in a case.

Provide an example of when one of these types of evidence was used in a case and was called into question whether or not the evidence was admissible. Why was the evidence questionable? What was the result?

Solution Preview

Distinguish the difference between demonstrative and documentary evidence.

Demonstrative evidence is evidence that illustrates or helps explain oral testimony, or recreates a tangible thing, occurrence, event, or experiment. Scientific evidence falls into this category, as when a toxicologist testifies that the victim died of lead poisoning and refers to a chart of the human body showing the circulatory pathways that the toxin traveled. Visual aids of this type are intimately tied to the credibility of the witness who testified with them, and although they are not separate pieces of evidence, like real evidence, a jury can usually view them again while it deliberates.
Here's a list of some (not all) of the things that can be used as demonstrative evidence:
· plaster casts or molds
· scale models
· maps, charts, diagrams, and drawings
· police composites, mug shots, sketches
· photographs
· microscopic enlargements
· videotapes
· computer reconstruction or animation
· scientific tests or experiments
The most general rule is that there must be some other piece of evidence -- a fact, an object, or testimony -- that needs to be illustrated or demonstrated. Presentation is actually a two-stage process: first some issue of fact, then the explanation or demonstration stage. Demonstrative evidence is intended to be an adjunct to testimony.
Documentary evidence is often a kind of real evidence, as for example where a contract is offered to prove its terms. When a document is used this way it is authenticated the same way as any ...

Solution Summary

The difference between demonstrative and documentary evidence is denoted.