“You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother” [and get her to understand it, too.]
Evidence is presented in court to determine what the facts are, i.e., evidence is presented to let a jury decide if it is "a proven fact" that the defendant committed the crime for which he/she is accused.
The copy of "The People's Law Dictionary" in my personal library contains these definitions:"Fact is a truth that can be proven. On the other hand evidence is something that is told by someone. It has to be accepted only on belief. There cannot be truth in all evidences. This is the main difference between facts and evidence."
So, it is totally absurd to say there is "no evidence" showing that Dr. Bruce Ivins was responsible for the anthrax attacks of 2001. In the Amerithrax Investigative Summary report, the Department of Justice presented 92 pages summarizing the evidence against Dr. Ivins. And they released thousands of pages of supplemental information.FACT: n. an actual thing or happening, which must be proved at trial by presentation of evidence and which is evaluated by the finder or fact (a jury in a jury trial, or by the judge if he/she sits without a jury).EVIDENCE: n. every type of proof legally presented at trial (allowed by the judge) which is intended to convince the judge and/or jury of alleged facts material to the case. It can include oral testimony of witnesses, including experts on technical matters, documents, public records, objects, photographs, and depositions (testimony under oath taken before the trial). It also includes so-called "circumstantial evidence" which is intended to create belief by showing surrounding circumstances which logically lead to a conclusion of fact.
A naysayer could argue that he or she does not accept or believe the evidence, and therefore, as far as they are concerned, it is not a proven fact that Dr. Ivins was the anthrax killer. But, they cannot logically say there is "no evidence" showing Dr. Ivins was the anthrax killer.
In court the prosecutor would present the evidence that Dr. Ivins had means, motive and opportunity to commit the crime. The prosecutor would establish "as a fact" that Ivins had means, motive and opportunity. And the prosecutor would ask the jury to conclude and confirm the fact that Ivins was the anthrax killer.
On the Internet, an Anthrax Truther can present "evidence" showing that his or her favorite suspect was actually the real anthrax killer.
However, as it says above (and below), "There cannot be truth in all evidences. This is the main difference between facts and evidence."
One Anthrax Truther on this blog presents "evidence" arguing that "linguistics" within the anthrax documents show that his unnamed "suspect" is the anthrax killer. He indicates that someday he may present "evidence" showing that his "suspect" had means, motive and opportunity. But, for now, all he is willing to discuss is the "linguistics" in the documents. As I see it, his linguistics "evidence" is easily challenged and disputed, so there is no "truth" in his "evidence." It's something only he sees.
Another Anthrax Truther argues that a 2003 news report saying that Adnan el-Shukrijumah had gone to the United States via Mexico is "evidence" that el-Shukrijumah mailed the anthrax letters. As further "evidence," he cites another news story which said el-Shukrijumah entered the U.S. "some time after September 1, 2001" as evidence that el-Shukrijumah was in New Jersey in September and October of 2001 mailing the anthrax letters. As I see it, his "evidence" is so vague and lacking in detail that is no way to find any "truth" in his "evidence." "The truth" is something only he sees in his "evidence."
The Department of Justice's case against Dr. Ivins, on the other hand, provides excellent evidence which shows that Ivins had means, motive and opportunity to commit the crime, plus they can have FBI agents testify that all other likely suspects can be eliminated for lack of means, motive and/or opportunity.
Unlike the two Anthrax Truthers mentioned above, the DOJ can show solid evidence to establish as a fact that Ivins had the means to commit the crime. The DOJ can present scientists who can explain that they personally created powders identical to the attack powders using the same equipment Ivins had available in his lab. The DOJ can also show that Ivins had the opportunity to commit the crime. To establish that as a fact, they can present documents, time logs and testimony showing that Ivins had no alibi for the times when the mailings were done. And the DOJ can show that Dr. Ivins had motive for committing the crime: Though his emails and the testimony of witnesses, they can establish as a fact that: (1) Dr. Ivins’s life’s work appeared destined for failure, absent an unexpected event. (2) Dr. Ivins was being subjected to increasing public criticism for his work. (3) Dr. Ivins was feeling abandoned in his personal life. A jury could reasonably conclude that Ivins expected the anthrax mailings to make him and his work important again.
The jury would watch and listen to the evidence being presented. They would then listen and watch the defense present evidence for their side of the argument. When done, the jury would decide, based upon all the evidence presented to them, if the case against Dr. Ivins was proven or not proven. If they decided it was proven, it would become a "fact" that Dr. Ivins was the anthrax killer.
Others can disagree with the "fact" that Ivins did it, but their disagreements would be of no value unless and until they could somehow present better evidence showing someone else did it.
That's my explanation of the difference between "facts" and "evidence."
Below are some sources I used in writing the comment above.
There are two types of evidence – factual evidence and documented evidence. In a trial, the court always relies on the documented evidence because facts are needed to prove that it is not true.
However, it is very easy to damage or destroy evidence. Therefore there is not a lot of strength in evidence and it is difficult to authenticate it. In contrast to evidence, a fact can be proven by any means and this is one of the main differences between the two words.
A fact cannot be destroyed or damaged. This is true of scientific facts that have been proven by multiple experiments. No matter how much you change the variables, the conclusion is fact. Facts are based on evidence, but evidence does not necessarily have to be true. It is also considered to be a reality about which a large number of people agree. Facts cannot be disputed.
Information that proves to be helpful in forming a conclusion is termed evidence, but it has to be either true or false. Evidence can be disputed, which is why it is presented in court. The lawyers for both sides present arguments and witnesses to prove or disprove the evidence that has been collected for the case.
It is the evidence that starts an investigation and fact develops from the conclusion of the investigation.
Click HERE for the source.
An objective consensus on a fundamental reality that has been agreed upon by a substantial number of people.
information used to establish facts in an investigation
information helpful in forming a conclusion or judgment
one or more reasons for believing that something is or is not true
Fact is that which is accepted by a large number of persons. Evidence is information provided by a few persons for accepting a certain fact.
Some evidences may become disputable at a later date. That which is never disputed becomes a fact.