Demonstrative Evidence: A Complete Guide That’ll Win Your Cases

There are countless books, podcasts, television shows, and movies based around court cases- and for good reason. Our judicial system is quite interesting! Emotions are running high, everyone is fighting for their side, and there’s never a lack of drama. Has someone been misleading the jury? Who’s opening statement was better? It’s all so enthralling!

Yet, as entertaining as a trial can be, it’s not all shouting and surprise witness testimony. There’s quite a bit of painstaking work and science involved in putting away the bad guy (or proving an innocent person shouldn’t be punished!).  

This demonstrative proof is what we’re here to discuss in further details today. The proper foundation of a court case isn’t in giving a persuasive speech and pulling on the jury’s heartstrings, but on evidence. When heading to trial court, you need demonstrative evidence. Let’s look more at what this is, how you can get it, and how to present it with success. 

Table of Contents

Which Are the Main Types of Evidence in Court?

It surprises many people who don’t work within the legal industry that there are different types of evidence. After all, evidence is evidence right? Not quite. There are two main types of evidence at court- real evidence and demonstrative evidence.

What is Evidence Taken From the Crime Scene?

This is “real evidence” or “physical evidence.” It consists of material items involved in a case, like fingerprints, a weapon, blood samples, DNA left at the scene of the crime, and other physical objects.

These types of demonstrative exhibits are admitted in order to prove or disprove an issue of fact in a trial, serving to assist the jury in knowing what really happened on the day and time in question. In order to meet the federal rules of evidence and be used at trial, real evidence must be: 

  • Relevant
  • Material
  • Authentic

All of this must be proven, of course. The admissibility of demonstrative evidence isn’t as difficult as you may worry. The process whereby a lawyer establishes these basic prerequisites is called laying a foundation. It is accomplished by calling witnesses who establish the item’s chain of custody, proving it is authentic and hasn’t been tampered with in any way.

What is Evidence That is Used to Help Recreate or Illustrate a Crime?

For a person to be convicted of a crime, there must be evidence. Just because a legal team doesn’t have real evidence doesn’t mean they’re totally out of luck. For example, what if there is no video tape of a robbery, but the store clerk saw it all and remembers what happened? This is where demonstrative evidence comes into play.

Sure, one could simply put the clerk on the stand and let him tell his story. What if you could still show the jury, though? Demonstrative evidence at trial provides this! Demonstrative evidence, demonstrate or illustrate the testimony of a witness. It’s admissible when it fairly and accurately reflects the witness’s testimony. It must be more probative than prejudicial. 

Types of Demonstrative Evidence that Win Cases

If a bullet casing is found at the scene of a crime, its real evidence. If witness testimony, forensic expert testimony, and crime scene photographs are used to create forensic animation that show an audience the crime as it happened, this is demonstrative evidence

  • Examples of forms of demonstrative evidence include:
  • Maps
  • Diagrams of a crime scene
  • Photographs
  • X ray-s for personal injuries
  • Charts
  • Graphs
  • 3D computer animation
  • Forensic animation
  • Recreations of any kind

Witness testimony, expert testimony, photographs, along with other types of evidence, is used to create and use demonstrative evidence at trial. Demonstrative evidence isn’t typically something found and collected at the scene of the crime, but rather something used to show you either what happened or the extent of damages that occurred. 

What Is Forensic Animation?

You may have noticed we mentioned forensic animation several times. Has this piqued your interest? Forensics are incredibly important to figuring out exactly what happened when a crime took place, but it’s also tough to explain to a judge and jury of non-medical experts. This problem can be solved thanks to forensic animation.

Forensic animation is used to assist investigators in visually explaining complex ideas. Don’t let the term “animation” fool you; this is not a silly cartoon. You see, this isn’t guesswork or creative storytelling. 

For example, rather than simply viewing a map of the site of an automobile accident and the pictures of the resulting damage, jurors can watch a re-creation of the accident as described by witnesses, experts and other testimony. Once the admissibility of demonstrative evidence has been met, this is presented just like any other type of evidence. It is now substantially similar to real evidence. If a judge refuses to allow it, you now have a good reason to claim abuse of discretion.

What is a Forensic Animator and What do They do?

These amazing pieces of evidence are created by forensic animators. A forensic animator uses computer technology to recreate accidents, crimes, or other incidents in order to support a legal team in receiving a favorable settlement or verdict at trial. In addition to a background in animation, many forensic animators have a science, legal, or criminal justice background.

Forensic animators must first collaborate with eye witnesses, police officers, forensic experts or scientists, and others to create a series of fixed video images to use for creating an animated rendition of any given event. The forensic animators then use a number of software programs to create the events, providing what happened, when, and who did what. It’s easy to see how forensic animations are revolutionizing the way information is being presented in modern litigation. It’s the next best thing to having surveillance footage of the entire event!

What is Computer Forensics Animation?

While we call these “animations,” it is important to point out that they aren’t hand-drawn like some old fashioned Disney movie. These are high-tech pieces of science. Forensic animation refers to the use of computer graphics to recreate complex event sequences and accidents. In fact, it is a branch of forensic science that uses technology to recreate and visually depict an event. It’s more science than art.

What is Crime Scene Animation?

You want to convince the jury of exactly what happened, and crime scene animation is the way to do it. Crime scene animations, especially crime scene reconstruction, are a fundamental piece of a well-planned-out legal presentation. They are especially helpful in personal injury, criminal defense, and civil rights cases. 

In a case where determining a verdict can be a very difficult task and where demonstrative evidence can become a powerful persuasion tool, you want to show your jury what happened and not just tell them. When there isn’t a surveillance video to do this, an expertly-created animation is the next best thing!

Did you know that an average person’s attention span is about eight seconds? In addition, according to a Weiss-McGrath report, using a visual is 650 times better than using only an oral presentation. 

The best ways to use crime scene animations are for:

  • Visually depicting crimes
  • Simplifying a complex scientific process
  • Making a medical treatment or surgery easier to understand
  • Recreating accidents
  • Showcasing a sequence of events
  • Showing the moving parts of a piece of equipment or machinery
  • Exploring alternative scenarios or angles
  • Showing how the person’s viewpoint affected their decision making ability

What is a 3D Animation Crime Scene?

Again, this is an expertly-made piece of evidence. It’s even presented in 3D, making it simple and powerful for the jury to see. This type of 3D animation crime scene evidence can help a legal team in four main ways:

#1 It Clarifies Your Expert Witness Testimony

Your 3D animation will be able to illustrate and reiterate the key details of the expert witness’s testimony. This makes it easier for the jury to follow. A well-made animation can also help increase the emotional connection the jury has to your plaintiff’s plight, particularly when it comes to personal injuries and crime victims.

#2 You Can Settle Your Case Quickly and For More Money

This form of evidence isn’t only helpful in criminal trials, but in personal injury cases as well. It may be difficult to explain to a jury exactly how a person was injured on the job and what effect this has on their long-term health and happiness. It’s much more impactful to show them. Because of this, 3D forensic animation can be used as leverage during mediation, direct settlement talks, and even mock settlement discussions.

Armed with a compelling animation, you may cause the defense to reevaluate the strength of their case. The opposing counsel will know immediately you have a powerful tool at your disposal. They may even turn around and go back to their client and raise their settlement offer. A persuasive visual may concern them so much that they offer a settlement instead of going to trial. In this way, it helps you reach a quicker settlement and for a higher value.

#3 It Increases the Chance the Jury Remembers Your Case 

The book Perceptive Listening tells us that people’s ability to accurately recall what was said to them is about 50% immediately following a presentation. If this sounds bad, it gets worse. It actually falls to about 25% after only one day. This means if your case does go to trial, you’ll have a better chance of convincing the jury to your side of the argument. At the very least, they’ll still remember it when it comes time to deliberate!

#4 It Show What Could Have and Should Have Happened

A 3D animation offers jurors a look at what could have, should have, and would have happened if everyone involved did the right thing. For example, these animations can answer questions like:

What would have happened to your client if their employer was following all of the OSHA codes?

What would have happened had the defendant been traveling at the speed limit instead of 20 MPH over?

What should the doctor have done during surgery, and what did he do instead?

This type of animation makes it very simple for the jury to see what should have happened in the ideal situation and what happened instead, because someone involved in the case did the wrong thing. Talk about compelling evidence! 

What is Litigation Animation?

This is another term to describe what we’ve already been talking about. Litigation animation helps to connect physical evidence and testimony in a way that makes sense to the audience.

This is a pretty complicated field. Lawyers who are looking for techniques to enhance their legal strategy and justice through litigation rely on the most persuasive evidence possible. A favorable outcome at trial depends on showing the jury the evidence, not just telling them. This is why forensic animation is a vital piece of the puzzle. 

As you can see, this type of evidence is extremely important and will only be successful if it is done by a team of experts. This isn’t something to trust to just anyone. The team at Evidence Room has decades of experience producing demonstrative evidence. Our work has been used in countless court cases, both criminal and civil, and well on national television shows. 

Wherever someone has the need to present a complicated situation in a simple-to-comprehend computer animation, you will find our work! What kind of demonstrative evidence can we create for you?

 

 

 

Closing Thoughts

This trial marks one of the largest settlements linked to the police. And while no amount of money will bring back Elena or the child she was carrying, it does send a message to Law Enforcement. Elena’s death was the result of a botched arrest attempt and in the line of duty for those who brazen the badge, these mistakes are proven to be costly.

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