Does lack of evidence constitute evidence?
Transcript of Comments
...I am curious how a prosecutor would prove that a testimonial was falsified. Especially if the purported person making the purported testimonial was also falsified. Unless there was a conspiracy to do so and a paper trail. Otherwise, if it's just a single person producing the testimonial, how could the prosecution ever prove it was never made? Since there would be no evidence, presumably, to rebut it. Any thoughts or insights? – Mowzer 14 hours ago
@Mowzer: Surely a prosecutor or plaintiff could produce evidence that no company called Newco exists (no record of it in business registrations, Internet searches, etc), and likewise that there is no such person as Jane Doe. – Nate Eldredge 33 mins ago
@NateEldredge: Sir, I ask you to think critically in this situation. How could one conceivably prove there is no person with a particular name? Is there a list or a database somewhere that lists every person in the world and every name they might use including nicknames and aliases? is there similarly a single list or list of lists or list of lists of lists that contains every business name? Please keep in mind, every business does not need to be registered or recorded with a state authority. Then there is the issue of companies outside the jurisdiction of enforcement. Foreign companies, etc. – Mowzer 10 mins ago
@NateEldredge: Think of it this way. If I search my whole house for a set of, let's say, keys you claim you left there. And I don't find them. And, similarly, I question everyone who was ever in my house if they found your keys. And your keys don't turn up and no one claims to have found your keys. Does that prove your keys are not in my house? Of course not. It just means no one has found them yet. But it does not remove all reasonable doubt that the keys are there if you say you left them there and I have no evidence or reason to believe you are lying. Correct? – Mowzer 4 mins ago
@Mowzer: It wouldn't be proof that no such person exists - it would be evidence that no such person exists. Civil court cases (in the US) are not decided based on absolute proof, but on the preponderance of the evidence. I believe something like a negative records search would constitute evidence that the person doesn't exist. The defense could then rebut this, if possible, by producing evidence that the person does exist; but if they don't, the court could plausibly use this to rule that the testimonial is false.
@NateEldredge: What you describe is not evidence. It is lack of evidence. I guess we disagree. Simply put, my position is... Lack of evidence does not constitute evidence. Apparently, you hold a different point-of-view.
@NateEldredge: Also, regarding your hypothetical... A sufficient rebuttal of the negative records search does not need to include producing evidence the mystery person exists. It would be sufficient to simply produce expert testimony of the many possible ways the negative records search could miss such a person assuming s/he does exist.