store’s ba
g
and sets her old ba
g
amon
g
the d
i
s
p
la
y
. She then selects four blouses and enters an enclose
d
d
ressing room. She comes out of the dressing room, carrying only three blouses, and hangs those thre
e
on the rack. A quick check of the dressing room reveals an empty hanger
.
At th
i
s
p
o
i
nt the woman
i
s carr
yi
n
g
another store’s sho
ppi
n
g
ba
g
,wh
i
ch a
pp
ears to conta
i
n mer
-
c
handise. When she entered the dressing room she was carrying only the handbag (plus the four blouse
s
on hangers). She leaves the store without paying for the handbag, and the detective is confident sh
e
also stole a blouse. She
i
s a
pp
roached and deta
i
ned. She adm
i
ts the theft of the handba
g
and one
blouse.
The case described involves direct evidence, circumstantial evidence, and physical and material
e
v
ide
n
ce.
Direct evidence also is known as parole evidence, that is, oral testimony. It is always a result
of the witness’s direct observation or what that witness heard, felt, or smelled. Testimony of the
d
etect
i
ve’s observat
i
on of the
p
urse sw
i
tch
i
s d
i
rect ev
i
dence. It
i
s a
p
owerful form of ev
i
dence becaus
e
i
t tends to prove a fact; in this case, the fact that the woman took merchandise without paying
f
or it.
C
i
rcumstant
i
al ev
i
dence
i
s
j
ust as
p
otent as d
i
rect ev
i
dence
i
f
t
he accused fa
i
ls to
p
rov
i
de con-
trary evidence. In our shoplifting scenario, the theft of the blouse is circumstantial evidence because
the detective did not actually see the theft. The circumstances strongly indicate a theft occurred.
I
nd
i
rect ev
i
dence and
p
resum
p
t
i
ve ev
i
dence are the same as c
i
rcumstant
i
al. Ph
y
s
i
cal ev
i
dence
is
any object connected with the matter at hand. In our example, physical evidence would include (1) th
e
stolen purse, (2) the abandoned purse, (3) the crumpled price tag that was removed from the stole
n
p
urse,
(
4
)
the blouse, and
(
5
)
the
p
a
p
er ba
g
used to conceal and remove the blouse. Real ev
i
dence an
d
d
emonstrative evidence are the same as physical evidence
.
Material evidence is that which tends to prove
p
art
o
f the issue. It is material that the culpri
t
assumed unlawful ownersh
ip
of the
p
urse b
y
transferr
i
n
g
her
p
ersonal effects from the old ba
g
to th
e
new one.
I
mmaterial evidence is considered to be unimportant and not germane to the issue. The fact that
the cul
p
r
i
t
i
s a colle
g
e
g
raduate has noth
i
n
g
to do w
i
th the
i
ssue of sho
p
l
i
ft
i
n
g
. How much mone
y
sh
e
had in her wallet is also not germane and is immaterial
.
Competent evidence is responsible evidence; sufficient to prove a given fact has a bearing on the
i
ssue, for exam
p
le, the removal of the
p
r
i
ce ta
g
b
y
the woman. Relevant ev
i
dence
i
s that wh
i
ch relate
s
d
irectly to the matter, for example, the culprit’s admissions of theft, the discovery of the empty hanger,
the sudden appearance of another store’s bag with contents. Obviously, materiality, competency, and
relevanc
y
are ver
y
s
i
m
i
lar
.
Best evidence applies only to documentary evidence or writings. Sometimes there is confusion i
n
a
pp
l
y
in
g
this term; for exam
p
le, havin
g
the actual
p
urse or blouse in the hearin
g
room, instead of
a
p
hoto
g
ra
p
h, because the ob
j
ects are the “best ev
i
dence.” Best ev
i
dence means the actual documents
,
not facsimiles or copies.
A FINAL W
O
RD AB
O
UT EVIDENCE
I
n his text on criminal investi
g
ation, James Gilbert makes a
p
oint that underscores the thrust of this
c
ha
p
ter and
i
s worth re
p
eat
i
n
g
here: “Ev
i
dence
i
s an
y
th
i
n
g
p
ro
p
erl
y
adm
i
ss
i
ble
i
n a court, that w
i
ll a
i
d
Ch
a
p
ter 11 Evi
d
enc
e
1
5
1
the funct
i
on of a cr
i
m
i
nal
p
roceed
i
n
g
i
n establ
i
sh
i
n
g
g
u
i
lt or
i
nnocence. There are man
y
d
i
fferent t
yp
es
of evidence, having different degrees of importance. In general, evidence that is inanimate, or nonhu
-
m
an, is valued more highly than evidence involving human beings. This is due to the fallibility of th
e
human cond
i
t
i
on
(
e.
g
., loss of memor
y
or
p
ur
p
osel
y
alter
i
n
g
the truth
)
.
21
Bearing this reality in mind, the effective investigator, while seeking out anything and everythin
g
that bear upon a case, will place the strongest emphasis and reliance on his own direct observation
s
and on hard
p
h
y
s
i
cal ev
i
dence
.
15
2 T
h
e Process of Investi
g
ation

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