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Criminal Evidence

NCJ Number
Marjie T. Britz
Date Published
381 pages
This textbook provides a comprehensive legal framework for the rules of evidence, highlights key law enforcement issues regarding collecting evidence in the field, and uses "headline cases" to illustrate major points.
Chapter 1 presents an overview of the history of the legal process, with attention to the amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Chapter 2 discusses the American court system and its foundational legal concepts; and chapter 3 explains the various types of evidence, including the differences between presumptions, inferences, and judicial notice (admission into evidence, without formal proof, of facts that are a matter of common and general knowledge). Chapter 4 introduces the concept of probable cause, which is essential to understanding the exclusionary rule. Chapter 5 then discusses the exclusionary rule, which is the court's means of preventing the admission of evidence obtained illegally. The complexities of the application of this rule are discussed. Chapter 6 considers warrantless searches, and chapter 7 addresses confessions and other fifth amendment issues. Chapter 8 explains the qualification and competency of witnesses, as well as criteria for witness impeachment. Chapter 9 reviews the Daubert test for the admission of scientific evidence, and chapter 10 evaluates the hearsay rule and its exceptions. Privileged communications are considered in chapter 11; these include the well-known privileges (attorney-client, doctor-patient, and spousal privileges) and also the lesser known governmental, clergy-communicant, and accountant-client privileges. Chapter 12 addresses much of the scientific evidence often presented in court, such as gunpowder residue, fingerprint identification, and DNA evidence. Chapter 13 introduces students to cyber (computer-related) evidence. Each chapter is introduced with a list of topics covered, an outline of learning objectives, and a list of key terms. Each chapter concludes with discussion questions and recommended resources. A subject index and 127 references