What is Testimonial Evidence?
Testimonial evidence can be defined as a written or oral statement given to the courts that proves the truth of what is being said. Testimonial evidence includes testimony and hearsay evidence. Testimony is a spoken or formal written statement that is given to the courts. Hearsay evidence is a statement told by someone else, but told by a different person. In order to differentiate between testimonial evidence and non-testimonial evidence, a comparison can be made. Non-testimonial evidence can be defined as evidence that is not stated by a witness. For example, a blood test or a physical test used in a case of proving whether or not someone was driving drunk.
Testimonial evidence is at the root of an attorney’s framework for a case presented in a court of law. The attorney will establish an organized presentation that will be used in an opening statement based on testimonial evidence. If the evidence is not organized, the jurors will be confused and the attorney’s argument will become weak. Testimonial evidence is used to prove a point. For example, in a court of law, attorneys may use an eye-witness account to prove that his client was not at the scene of a crime. This example of using a witness to prove a point is also called communicative evidence.
When testimonial evidence is used in the court of law, there are times when the evidence is not admissible, which means it cannot be used. The courts will decide whether or not the testimonial evidence is relevant to the case, linked to a certain fact, or competent. If the testimonial evidence is misleading, it wastes the courts time, it is unfairly prejudicial, or it came from privileged information between the attorney and their client, then the testimonial evidence will be found admissible in court. When an expert witness is used as testimonial evidence, and they are found to not actually be an expert, the evidence will not be allowed. For example, if an expert witness is called to the stand as a doctor, but is found to be a nurse, the evidence will likely not be allowed.