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Ullmann v. United States

Prima Facie Evidence

The Latin phrase prima facie means on first appearance and prima facie evidence refers to the apparent truth of a piece evidence on initial inspection that supports a case or an argument in a case that requires support. Both civil and criminal law rely on the notion of prima facie evidence.

Prima facie evidence comes into play, for example, when a prosecutor in an assault case offers letters in which the defendant threatens the victim. Here, the prosecutor presents prima facie evidence that the defendant intended to harm the victim, which the prosecutor must demonstrate before the defendant can be convicted. In addition, statutes also determine what counts as prima facie evidence. For instance, an appropriately verified copy of a criminal record can be used against a defendant in court as prima facie evidence.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1954 to 1962Ullmann v. United States - Significance, Court Holds That The Privilege Against Self-incrimination Only Protects Against Criminal Prosecution, Prima Facie Evidence