corroborating evidence

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Corroborating evidence is evidence that strengthens or confirms already existing evidence. In courts, it is used to support the testimony of a witness. For example, California has a statute that defines corroborating evidence in the context of a conviction. As per California Penal Code Section 1111, “a conviction cannot be had upon the testimony of an accomplice unless it be corroborated by such other evidence as shall tend to connect the defendant with the commission of the offense; and the corroboration is not sufficient if it merely shows the commission of the offense or the circumstances thereof.”

Cases such as this one from California explain that corroborating evidence may be entirely circumstantial evidence and on its own it may not be enough to satisfy all the elements of the charged offense or to establish all the facts to which the accomplice testified. However, it will be sufficient if it establishes a connection between the defendant and the crime to satisfy the jury that the accomplice is telling the truth. 

[Last updated in June of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]