EVIDENCE. That which tends to prove or disprove any matter in question, or to in fluence the belief respecting it. Belief is produced by the consideration of something presented to the mind. The matter thus pre sented, in whatever shape it may come, and through whatever material organ it is de rived, is evidence. Prof. Parker, Lectures on Medical Jurisprudence, in Dartmouth Col lege.
The word evidence, in legal acceptation, inclUdes all the means by which any alleged matter of fact, the truth of which is submit ted to investigation, is established or dis proved. 1 Greenl. Ev. c. I. § 1; Will, Cir. Ev. 1. Testimony is not synbnymous with evi dence ; Harvey v. Smith, 17 Ind. 272 ; the latter is the more comprehensive term; Whart. Cr. L. § 783; and includes all that may be submitted to the jury whether it be the statement of witnesses, or the contents of papers, documents, or records, or the in spection of whatever the jury may be per mitted to examine and consider during the trial ; Will, Cir. Ev. 2 ; Jones v. Gregory, 48 Ill. App. 230.
The means sanctioned by law of ascer taining in a judicial proceeding the truth re specting a question of fact. Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 1823. And the law of evidence is declared to be a collection of general rules established by law : 1. For declaring what is to be taken as true without proof.
2. For declaring the presumptions of law, both disputable and conclusive.
3. For the production of legal evidence.
4. For the exclusion of what is not legal.
5. For determining in certain cases the value and effect of evidence. Id. § 1825.
"The rules of evidence," says a discrimi nating writer, "are the maxims which the sagacity and experience of ages have estab lished, as the best means of discriminating truth from error, and of contracting as far as possible the dangerous power of judicial discretion." Will, Cir. Ev. 2.
That which is legally submitted to a jury, to enable them to decide upon the questions in dispute, or issue, as pointed out by the pleadings, and distinguished from all com ment and argument, is termed evidence. 1 Stark. Ev. pt. 1, § 3.
Evidence may be considered with refer ence to its instruments, its nature, its legal character, its effect, its object, and the modes of its introduction.
The instruments of evidence, in the legal acceptation of the term, are: 1. Judicial notice or recognition. There are divers things of which courts take ju dicial notice, without the introduction of proof by the parties: such as the territorial extent of their jurisdiction, local divisions of their own countries, seats of .courts, all public matters directly concerning the gen eral government, the ordinary course of na ture,.divisions of time, the meanings of words, and, generally, of whatever ought to be generally known in the jurisdiction. If the judge need' information on subjects, he will seek it from such sources as lie deems authentic. See JUDICIAL NOTICE.
2. Publio records; the registers of -official transactions made by officers appointed for the purpose; as, the public statutes, the judg ments and proceedings of courts, etc.
3. writings: such as inquisitions, depositions, etc.
4. Public documents having a semi-official character : as, the statutepooks , published under the authority a the government, doc uments printed by the authority of congress, etc.
5. Private writings: as, deeds, contracts, wills.
6. Testimony of witnesses, 7. Personal inspection, by the jury or tri bunal whose duty it is to determine the matter in controversy : as, a view of the locality by the to them to de termine the disputed fact, or the better to understand the testimony, or inspection of any machine or weapon which is produced in the cause.
Real evidence is evidence of the thing or object which is produced in court. When, for instance, the condition or appearance of any thing or ,object is material to the issue, and the thing or object itself is produced in court for the inspection of the tribunal, with proper testimony as to its identity, and, if necessary, to show that it has existed since the time at which the issue in question arose, this object or thing becomes itself "real evi dence" of its condition or appearance at the time in question. 1 Greenl. Ev. § 13 a, note.