Definition of INDICIA


INDICIA

civil law. Signs, marks. Example: in replevin, the
chattel must possess indicia, or earmarks, by which it can be
distinguished from all others of the same description. 4 Bouv.
Inst. n. 3556. This term is very nearly synonymous with the common
law phrase, "circumstantial evidence." It was used to designate the
facts giving rise to the indirect inference, rather than the
inference itself; as, for example, the possession of goods recently
stolen, vicinity to the scene of the crime, sudden change in
circumstances or conduct, &c. Mascardus, de Prob. lib. 1, quaest.
15; Dall. Dict. Competnce Criminelle, 92, 415; Morin, Dict. du
Droit Criminal, mots Accusation, Chambre du Conseil.

2. Indicia may be defined to be conjectures, which result from
circumstances not absolutely necessary and certain, but merely
probable, and which may turn out not to be true, though they have
the appearance of truth. Denisart, mot Indices. See Best on Pres.
13, note f.

3. However numerous indicia may be, they only show that a thing
may be, not that it has been. An indicium, can have effect only
when a connexion is essentially necessary with the principal.
Effects are known by their causes, but only when the effects can
arise only from the causes to which they. are attributed. When
several causes may have produced one and the same effect, it is,
therefore, unreasonable to attribute it to any one of such causes.
A combination of circumstances sometimes conspire against an
innocent person, and, like mute witnesses, depose against him.
There is danger in such cases, that a jury may be misled; their
minds prejudiced, their indignation unduly excited, or their zeal
seduced. Under impressions thus produced, they may forget their
true relation to the accused, and condemn a man whom they would
have acquitted had they required that proof and certainty which the
law demands. See D Aguesseau, Oeuvres, vol. xiii. p. 243. See
Circumstances.

Source: Bouviers Law Dictionary 1856 Edition

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