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What type of evidence do you need, in order to convict somebody of a murder ?

Salt Lake City, UT |
Attorney answers 3


In virtually any criminal case, the government has the burden of proving all elements of the crime to the satisfaction of the judge or jury beyond any reasonalble doubt. Good luck with the homework.

The author of this post is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. This post is intended as general information only, and is not provided as legal advice in connection with any specific case, and does not create an attorney-client relationship.


Your assignment may be more difficult than it looks. There are federal guidelines for a finding of murder, and state guidelines. I suggest you start by looking at your state's scale for the criminal loss of life: such as murder, manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, etc.
In most states murder is the highest crime for causing the death of another human being.
Some of the defenses against the charge of murder are self-defense, accident, or lack of intention. Police provide the evidence needed; the prosecuting attorney assembles the witnesses, the laboratory evidence, the autopsy, and presents it first for an indictment, then trial, and at a murder trial there is usually a jury, which must find the crime was committed "beyond a reasonable doubt" and a jury decision must be unanimous to convict.
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Hiring a lawyer; Is it Legal? Is it Illegal?...Understanding the different court systems;
Introduction to Legal terms used in litigation; Limitations on a Lawyer’s License: What a Lawyer Can and Cannot Do……….……………………..…………………………..

LEGAL DISCLAIMER…………………………………………………………………..
Mr. Sarno is licensed to practice law in NJ and NY. His response here is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/ client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter in question. Many times the questioner may leave out details which would make the reply unsuitable. Mr. Sarno strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their own state to acquire more information about this issue.


The case, which is prosecuted by the DA or Attorney General in your state, must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Notice that the standard is "reasonable"). In other words, refusing to convict because little green men may have committed the crime is not reasonable.

Generally, the proof is scientific or eye witness. Because of shows like CSI, the public now believes that police labs never make a mistake, and juries think their testimony is gospel.

In a civil suit, the standard is proof by a preponderance of evidence -- in other words, 51%.

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