Jurors’ Use of Evidence and Inferences Explained
This is Oklahoma lawyer Stuart Ericson. We’re talking about evidence now in jury trials and in the jury instructions kind of how the evidence is to be used and viewed by jurors and one of them is inferences. That’s one of the jury instructions that a jury could get is that the jury is allowed and permitted to draw reasonable inferences from the testimony and basically that is you know jurors are allowed to use their common sense when they listen to all the evidence they’re allowed to make conclusions which common sense you know dictates they don’t not everything has to be spelled out exactly they can infer one fact from another so that’s a big jury instruction.
Of course, direct evidence is another one that is you know just testimony from an eyewitness that’s direct evidence of a photograph of a shoe or a gun or a knife left at the scene that’s direct evidence so that that’s direct evidence that’s part of jury trials. Circumstantial evidence is another type now a state can the state can’t convict on a circumstantial case so obviously convictions can be had when there’s no eyewitness or no photograph but piecing everything together and circumstantial evidence is defined as proof of facts or circumstances which gives rise to a reasonable inference of other connected facts that tend to show the guilt or innocence of a defendant.
The Importance of Circumstantial Evidence in Jury Trials
Now what the state of Oklahoma always does is you know a circumstantial case or the inference is let’s say you go to bed at night and there’s no storms there’s no rain it’s you know stars in the sky and you go to bed all right you wake up you sleep all night you don’t ever wake up you wake up at 8 a.m. say you wake up open your windows and there’s two feet of snow on the ground and that would be you know circumstantial evidence that it snowed and you know in a sense that you know you didn’t witness it snow you didn’t see the snow falling out of the sky but yet there it is so you know you can tie those pieces together now as the defense attorney I’m the one going to be poking holes and all of that but but there is inferences that jurors can draw from direct and circumstantial evidence and so and and the law makes no distinction like circumstantial evidence could have the same weight and power as direct evidence so that is kind of how some of the evidence works in a jury trial and how the jury instructions work and how jurors would consider evidence.
If you have any questions about that reach out to me, Stuart Ericson, at wagonerlawyer.com.