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1 PJI 6 | Third Circuit (US)
HB-PJI-CA03-01S0600 Download

1 PJI 6 | DIRECT AND CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE

Option 1:

Do not be concerned about whether evidence is "direct evidence" or "circumstantial evidence." You should consider and weigh all of the evidence that is presented to you. If your experience tells you that certain evidence reasonably leads to a conclusion, you are free to reach that conclusion.

Option 2:

There are two types of evidence that you may use in reaching your verdict. One type of evidence is called “direct evidence.” An example of "direct evidence" is when a witness testifies about something that the witness knows through his own senses — something the witness has seen, felt, touched or heard or did. If a witness testified that he saw it raining outside, and you believed him, that would be direct evidence that it was raining. Another form of direct evidence is an exhibit where the fact to be proved is its existence or current condition.

The other type of evidence is circumstantial evidence. "Circumstantial evidence" is proof of one or more facts from which you could find another fact. If someone walked into the courtroom wearing a raincoat covered with drops of water and carrying a wet umbrella, that would be circumstantial evidence from which you could conclude that it was raining.

You should consider both kinds of evidence that are presented to you. The law makes no distinction in the weight to be given to either direct or circumstantial evidence. You are to decide how much weight to give any evidence.



COMMENT Option 1 is derived from Fifth Circuit (Criminal) 1.07 (Alternative A). It can be used by those judges who do not wish to say anything about the distinction between direct and circumstantial evidence, but yet might be concerned that jurors would have preconceived notions about these terms.

Option 2 is derived from former Ninth Circuit 3.6. Cf. Ninth Circuit 1.9. The instruction does not attempt to provide a definition of “direct” evidence. The definitions given in some instructions simply repeat the word “direct”. Other instructions on direct evidence are underinclusive, as they refer only to witness testimony, whereas an exhibit can be direct evidence of a fact. The example given in the instruction should be sufficient to give jurors a clear idea of “direct” evidence.

(Last Updated October 2017)

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Sincerely,



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