Corpus Delicti, * The body of the offence; the essence of the crime

2. It is a general rule not to convict unless the corpus delicti can be established, that is, until the dead body has been found. Best on Pres. 201; 1 Stark. Ev. 575, See 6 C. & P. 176; 2 Hale, P. C. 290. Instances have occurred of a person being convicted of having killed another, who, after the supposed criminal has been put to death for the supposed offence, has made his appearance - alive. The wisdom of the rule is apparent; but it has been questioned whether, in extreme cases, it may not be competent to prove the basis of the corpus delicti by presumptive evidence. 3 Benth. Jud. Ev. 234; Wills on Circum. Ev. 105; Best on Pres. 204. See Death.

* From Bouvier's Law Dictionary, 1856 Edition. Please see Bouvier's Legal Abbreviations & Abbreviated References for help with obscure nomenclature & references.

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