General Principles to be Considered in Determining the Weight and Sufficiency of the Evidence.

September 30, 2018

Generally, evidence is insufficient in law only in those cases where there is a total absence of such proof, as to either its quantity or kind. Evidence is not to be regarded as insufficient merely because there is other testimony, which, if believed, would authorize a different result. Its probative force is to be estimated, not only by its own intrinsic weight, but also in view of the evidence which it is in the power of one side to produce and the other to contradict.”
What constitutes proof, with relation to the evidence offered to establish the truth of a proposition, is often a most difficult question.” It is that evidence which has the power to convince the mind of the existence of a fact, and thus produce belief. It is rarely a demonstration as absolute as a mathematical proposition, and generally speaking the law does not attempt to tell jurors the exact amount or kind of evidence that should produce belief in their minds:”
Most transactions, however, are provable only by the testimony of persons who have seen or heard them. The weight to be given such testimony depends in a large measure upon the credibility of the witnesses.” The deter¬mination of their credibility and of the weight of their testimony is peculiarly within the province of the jury, with which the court is not to interfere.
In weighing the evidence of witnesses, the jury may take into con¬sideration, in connection with all the surrounding facts and circumstances in the case, their means of knowledge, their seeming honesty or lack of it, their respective opportunities for seeing and knowing the things about which they testify, their conduct upon the witness stand, their manner of testifying, etc.
The manner in which a witness testifies may give rise to doubts of his sincerity and create the impression that he is giving a wrong coloring to material facts. All these things may properly be considered in determining the weight, which should be given to his statement, although there is no adverse verbal testimony adduced.
The intent and purport of the testimony of a witness must be distilled from all his words and not from any particular few torn out of context.
The interest of the witness in the result of the trial, and his consequent bias, are matters to be considered,” particularly if the witness’ testimony is uncor¬roborated or is contradicted by other evidence.

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