Evidence is considered "relevant" when it is applicable to the issues raised in the case. Relevancy is the quality of evidence that allows it to be correctly applied to the truth or falsehood of the issues at hand between the parties. A fact is relevant when it aids in the proof of a problem. For example, if there was evidence that showed that Fred had been sick recently, this would be relevant evidence that could help prove that he committed suicide.
Evidence can be relevant to more than one issue in the case. For example, if there were witnesses who saw Fred arguing with someone just before he died, this would be relevant evidence for both the cause and manner of death. The jury might use this evidence to conclude that someone else killed him. It also might lead them to believe that suicide is not the only way to die. There are other ways to end your own life, such as by overdosing on pills or shooting yourself in the head. Thus, evidence can be relevant to show both the cause and manner of death.
Evidence is usually relevant if it has any possibility of making the situation in question come out differently. For example, if there was evidence that showed that another person was in Fred's house just before he died, this would be relevant evidence that could change how we think about his death. Perhaps he was killed by this unknown person. Or maybe he came to his own death accidentally.
Evidence is relevant if it possesses the following characteristics: (a) it has the ability to make a fact more or less probable than it would be in the absence of the evidence; and (b) the fact is essential in determining the action. For example, if a defendant in a criminal case claims that the evidence was obtained by police officers who did not have reasonable suspicion to stop him, then evidence showing that the officer had reasonable suspicion to believe that he was involved in crime would be relevant.
In general, any evidence which tends to show that someone other than the accused committed the offense charged is relevant evidence in his favor. However, it is well established that even though evidence may appear to be favorable to the defendant, it is still subject to being excluded if it is found to be prejudicial to the rights of the accused. For example, evidence of other crimes committed by the defendant is generally inadmissible to show that he has a criminal disposition and therefore acted in conformity with it on this occasion. However, such evidence may be admitted for other purposes, such as proof of motive or intent. Evidence that is merely consistent with guilt does not justify its admission into trial. Instead, the jury should only consider evidence that proves the defendant's innocence. Thus, evidence that appears to be helpful to the defense may actually work against the defendant if it results in prejudice or confusion of the issues.
Relevant evidence is evidence that has the potential to increase the likelihood of the presence of any fact relevant to the determination of the action over what it would be without the evidence. Irrelevant evidence is evidence that is regarded irrelevant or unrelated to the topic at hand. All evidence should be considered by a jury or judge when making a decision about whether someone is guilty of a crime.
Irrelevant evidence can include crimes for which the person on trial was not charged, questions regarding which were not raised at trial, or other events occurring after the incident being investigated that may have affected the police's perception of the defendant.
Evidence is relevant if it has any tendency to make a fact more or less probable than it would be without the evidence. For example, if the police find a gun in the defendant's car after a night of partying then that gun could be relevant evidence that the defendant owned the gun and was therefore probably involved in the shooting that occurred earlier that night. However, if the only reason the police found the gun was because the defendant had an argument with his girlfriend and shot her before going out to get more beer then that gun would be irrelevant evidence that does not help prove or disprove any fact at issue in the case.
In conclusion, relevant evidence is anything that has the potential to make a fact more or less probable. Irrelevant evidence is anything that does not have this potential.
Look for evidence that is relevant, sufficient, and believable when selecting evidence to support your claim. Relevant indicates that it directly supports the point you're attempting to make. Evidence that is irrelevant may still be on the same issue, but it does not establish your thesis. For example, evidence that the defendant was found guilty of another crime would be irrelevant in a court case involving his guilt or innocence for the current offense.
Sufficient evidence provides information based on which someone could conclude that the claim is true. It must be enough to get us to question whether the claim is true. For example, evidence that raises doubts about one aspect of the claim doesn't necessarily defeat the claim as a whole. Evidence that is insufficient to prove a point can be very persuasive; after all, many cases are decided on credibility issues between witnesses. The key is that there should be some objective way to determine whether the claim is true or false.
Bare assertions aren't proof, so don't rely on opinions alone to support your claim. Opinions can be helpful in arguments because they can give weight to your position. However, opinions are subjective by nature and cannot be used as the only form of evidence in a legal argument.
Finally, evidence that is believable takes into account factors such as witness reliability, consistency, and context. Evidence that isn't credible will always be rejected by lawyers and judges.
Evidence is relevant if it has the "tendency to render the presence of any fact that is of relevance to the resolution of the action more probable or less probable than it would be without the evidence," according to Rule 401 of the Federal Rules of Evidence (FRE). Relevant evidence may be excluded under Rule 403 if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice.
Evidence is material if it is necessary to decide the issue before the court. An answer may be based on hearsay evidence as long as the statement offered qualifies as an exception to the rule against hearsay. For example, if a defendant is accused of shooting someone and there is no eyewitness testimony, then statements from people who heard the accusation can be used to prove that the accusation was made.
Evidence is reliable if it is correct. All witnesses are not equal in credibility. Some witnesses are more believable than others; for example, a witness may be more credible if he or she has nothing to gain by telling the truth or something to lose by lying. The jury is responsible for determining how much weight to give to each witness's testimony. Witnesses may also be unreliable due to mental illness or defect, bias, or interest in the outcome of the case.
Evidence is prejudicial if it tends to suggest a decision on an improper basis.