Can a person be convicted without any physical evidence?

Asked on Aug 12th, 2013 on Criminal Law - California
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My 18-year-old brother is being charged with 1st degree intentional homicide. There are so many different stories about him shooting somebody in cold blood, or bullets being ricochet off the ground, a nearby drive by, etc. However, he was arrested because before the shots were fired he was being jumped by two brothers. Everybody was quick to point the finger on him. There is no physical evidence of him doing anything besides different he said, she said stories. Also, there was no gun recovered at the scene. Can he even be convicted?
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Jeff Fengcheng Yeh
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Answered on Aug 13th, 2013 at 11:45 PM
That depends how good his lawyer is. There is no requirement that there be physical evidence. Most people forget they have the right to remain silent and cop themselves out anyway.

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Answered on Aug 13th, 2013 at 11:44 PM
Yes. Many murder cases result in convictions where there is no physical evidence. But that is somewhat misleading: there is always some physical evidence - evidence collected at the crime scene, shell casings, autopsy/medical findings, etc. You mean no physical evidence directly connecting your brother to the crime. It is not the favorite situation for a prosecutor, but it happens all the time. Eyewitness testimony, circumstantial evidence, statements of the accused...all sorts of other evidence, can be used as evidence against the accused. The question is, is this enough to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused committed murder? And that is what a trial is all about. Sometimes there is enough evidence for the jury, sometimes there is not. If the jury does not believe the prosecution witnesses they can acquit the defendant. If they do...not good news for the accused person.

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Answered on Aug 13th, 2013 at 11:41 PM
Impossible to say without a lot more information.

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Answered on Aug 13th, 2013 at 10:15 PM
If there is enough circumstantial evidence, yes a conviction can happen for homicide.

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Answered on Aug 13th, 2013 at 9:48 PM
That question cannot be answered. Only a jury can decide whether or not the case has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt or not.

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