Circumstantial Evidence in Nebraska

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Fenner, G. Michael
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INTRODUCTION|There are four lines of Nebraska civil cases judging the value of circumstantial evidence. The oldest is the Blid line, where the court says that circumstantial evidence will not support a verdict in a civil case unless the necessary inferences are the only reasonable inferences that can be drawn from the evidence. The second oldest is the "reasonable certainty" line, where the court says that a verdict may be supported with circumstantial evidence if the necessary inferences can be drawn with reasonable certainty. The third line contains cases holding that circumstantial evidence is "equally competent" with direct evidence; such evidence supports a verdict if a reasonable person could draw the necessary inferences. The fourth line is less distinct, and somewhat schizophrenic. In the cases of this fourth line, the stated rule regarding the value of circumstantial evidence is a combination of any two or all three of the rules from the other lines. |Sometimes the cases of the first three of these lines proceed along, parallel to and oblivious of each other. The Blid rule will be cited in one case, the reasonable certainty rule in another, and the equally competent rule in a third, more or less contemporaneous case. And in none of these cases is there any recognition of the fact that its rule is not the only one. |Sometimes the rules intersect, with one or more appearing in the same case. At one point of intersection, one of the lines was overruled, only to reappear very soon thereafter. More often, when two or more of the lines show up in the same case, they are strung together as variations of their individual selves. These are the often confused cases of the fourth line...
19 Creighton L. Rev. 236 (1985-1986)
Creighton University School of Law
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