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Should circumstantial evidence be the sole basis for a conviction in capital cases - Essay Example

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Should circumstantial evidence be the sole basis for a conviction in capital cases

When a prosecutor brings a capital case, which is also called a death penalty case, she must charge one or more "special circumstances" that the jury must find to be true in order to sentence the defendant to death. (, para 1) These circumstances should be able to give enough proof that a capital crime is committed by the accused beyond doubt. These "special circumstances" should be able to lead the prosecution to the person who has truly committed the crime.
Circumstantial evidence is just as important as direct evidence. These are evidence of facts from which inferences or presumptions can be drawn. Providing circumstantial evidence from a capital crime aids in the conviction of the right person responsible for the crime committed. Prosecutors are able to create a picture of how the crime may have been committed given the circumstantial evidences. It may even lead them to further investigation of the crime that may lead them to the direct evidences that might give them clues as to the actual crime scene. Circumstantial evidence may at the same time provide the investigators a guide to get the right convict. Circumstantial evidence is not considered to be proof that something happened but it is often useful as a guide for further investigation. (, para 9)
On the other hand, however important circumstantial evidences may be in a capital case, it should not be the sole basis in bringing the accused to the death row. Circumstantial evidence must be closely examined and it must be looked at cumulatively. In other words, a court would be very slow to convict a defendant on the basis of one piece of circumstantial evidence alone. For instance, a particular person's fingerprint found in the crime scene does not necessarily mean that he committed the crime. (, para 14)He could be a close friend of the victim who happened to come to the crime scene before the actual crime took place. It could just be any innocent person who came to the scene before the criminal incident happened. These are just some instances that may give wrong accusations to the wrong persons who may have directed the circumstantial evidences. In this case, circumstantial evidence cannot be considered to be the sole basis of conviction in a capital case.
Nevertheless, if there are a number of different strands of circumstantial evidence, taken together, it is rather another story that must be given as much as necessary attention such that it provides more weight than a single circumstantial evidence. ( circumstantial_evidence.html, para 15) Say for instance that the accused was seen at the scene of the crime at the exact time the incident was assumed to have happened, his fingerprints were found at the crime scene, his DNA is identified with the victims body, he loathe the victim that he may have threatened the victim before, and that he behaved suspiciously after the crime had happened. Provided this series of circumstantial evidences that points to the direction of the accused, the prosecutor may find these ...Show more


Capital cases are death penalty cases that require an intense investigation on a given case. Evidences obtained from the scene of the crime should be scrutinized diligently to avoid circumstances of laying down a wrong verdict on the case. Being meticulous about the given evidences regarding the crime committed by the assumed convict is normal in such a way that the verdict given may be laid down to the wrong person…
Author : cartermaddison
Should circumstantial evidence be the sole basis for a conviction in capital cases
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