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What is testimonial evidence?

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Quick Answer

Testimonial evidence refers to the statements of victims or witnesses, according to the National Forensic Science Technology Center. It includes oral and written assertions offered in a court, according to BusinessDictionary.

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The National Forensic Science Technology Center states that evidence is categorized as either testimonial or physical. Testimonial evidence helps investigators recreate the crime scene and form a sequence of events. Physical evidence, which involves tangible objects, can confirm testimony from a victim, witness or suspect. When properly collected, preserved and documented, it is seen as a reliable means to link someone to a crime scene. Compared to physical evidence, which is tangible and more readily testable, testimonial evidence is deemed more subjective in nature. A person's memory and understanding of certain events can be inaccurate or incomplete.

Keith Jackson, a founding partner of the Riley & Jackson law firm, notes that testimonial evidence often forms the bulk of a lawyer's presentation in trials. Lay witnesses, expert witnesses or court appointed experts offer testimonial evidence in a court. An attorney must provide a well-organized and cohesive presentation of testimony to establish the theme for the case, develop issues outlined for the jury in the opening statements and enable the jury to assemble the essential elements of the case.

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