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Consciousness of guilt is another state of mind that raises a
new set of legal and psychological problems. Wigmore dramatically
states its significance when he says:
"As an axe leaves its mark in the speechless tree, so an
evil deed leaves its mark in the evil doer's consciousness."
"The reliance is not upon the testimonial credit of a person,
but upon psychologic forces closely analogous to the
forces of external nature."
As a result, we are not here concerned, as in the case of state of
mind to prove an act, with the hearsay rule or an exception to
it. We need not worry about finding a necessity for the introduction
of the statements, or a guarantee of their trustworthiness.
We are dealing with a firmly established notion in the
law, based on an equally well-settled axiom of common sense.
Date of Authorship for this Version
law and evidence, state of mind, consciousness of guilt