Most people are used to hearing terms like proof, proof, and clue. Whether we have read them, seen them on television, worked in the legal or expert field or simply for general culture, these concepts fall within our normal vocabulary, generally used as a synonym.
However, although similar, these three words refer to different things. These are elements that are taken into account, for example, in forensic psychology and, by extension, in the judicial and legal world. However …what are the differences between clue, proof and proof and how do you work with them?
Its scope of use
As we have seen, the words clue, proof and proof can be used in our usual vocabulary, but they are mainly related to the judicial field. In this regard, these terms are used to refer to all the elements that serve to establish relationships between specific elements of a case and hypothesize, reconstruct and demonstrate these relationships.
These elements result from the investigation of the various professionals investigating the case, being generally collected from a specific scene or extrapolated from the investigation of the alleged perpetrators.
But even in the judicial field, the terms proof, clue and proof can be misused, have frequent confusions due to the little delimitation between the different concepts (since the limits can be blurred depending on the definition that is given to each) and the fact that in many occasions this delimitation has little importance to be able to come back to prove as much the evidence as indications in its forensic use.
Differences between clue, proof and proof
In order to clarify the differences between each of the terms, you can see the definition of clue, proof and proof below and how they differ from each other.
Hint: what makes us think of something
All that perceptible element, material or not, which results from or is involved in the scene of a crime and which it allows to imagine the existence of a certain circumstance related to the event or crime under investigation.
For example, the existence of a drink at the scene of a crime, the disappearance of an object that should be present or the movement of furniture at the scene may be clues. These are things that allow us to point in a certain direction, but how and where they point has a certain subjectivity on the part of researchers.
In fact, the police investigation usually begins with the collection of evidence which, after further analysis, can be used to find evidence.
Proof: when something proves the existence of a relationship
The proof is understood as all that element which it allows to establish, in a clear way, the relation between two elements found in the scene of crime. It can be understood as that collected clue that clearly reflects a relationship with another element. For example, evidence can be fingerprints on a stolen object or traces of blood or other body fluids on a person or object.
Although they do not make logical sense or correspond to what appears to be behavioral (for example, having a victim’s blood on their clothes does not necessarily mean that the person wearing it is the abuser) , the fact that there is a connection is unequivocal (if the blood on the clothes belongs to a person, this piece was in contact with the crime scene or with the victim).
The proof is generally obtained by carrying out an analysis of the crime zone and the numerous clues found, obtaining objective results through them.
Proof: The element with which we seek to find the truth
We call proof any element or argument which it is used to prove the truth or falsity of a fact. Thus, proof is that instrument used to judicially prove a fact and which achieves the level of conviction necessary to accept or reject a specific idea or hypothesis.
There are two types of tests that can be found: indicative or sufficient. By sufficient evidence we mean that which guarantees the involvement of the defendant and that it may be sufficient to render a verdict, being extracted from the evidence.
As for the circumstantial evidence, as one can guess from its name, it is those which come from clues which in themselves are not decisive. Thus, while they allow one to think and indicate the guilt or innocence of the accused, their presence is not sufficient to prove the type of involvement of the accused.
Deepening the differences
While we have what each of these three terms means, the differentiation between them may not be entirely clear, so a more concrete explanation of the differences between each is needed.
As we have indicated, proof can be defined as the element with which it is intended to prove the truth or falsity of something. In this way, we will talk about a test whenever we use certain evidence or clues for the purpose of proving something. Thus, evidence and evidence can be evidence when used judicially.
Evidence and clues, however, are the mutually exclusive elementsDifferentiate that if the second is usually a product or item related to the crime scene that may point in a certain direction, the evidence may by itself prove the existence of a certain reality. Moreover, while the index is more subjective and depends more on the researcher, the proof is obtained by the analysis of the indicative elements, which results in objectivity.
- Couture, EJ (1993). Legal vocabulary. Depalma editions.
- Royal Spanish Academy. (2005). Pan-Hispanic Dictionary of Doubts. Association of Spanish Language Academies.
- Taruffo, M. (2003). Some considerations on the relationship between proof and truth. Discussions: Test and knowledge, 3. Miguel de Cervantes virtual library: Alicante.