May 24, 2012 § Leave a comment
Several chancery matters require proof by clear and convincing evidence.
- Every ground for divorce but habitual cruel and inhuman treatment requires clear and convincing evidence. See, Bell on Mississippi Family Law, 2nd Ed., §4.02[b].
- Proof of the elements of adverse posession requires clear and convincing evidence.
- Proof of undue influence in inter vivos gifts between spouses requires clear and convincing evidence.
- Undue influence and confidential relationship in a will contest requires clear and convincing evidence.
- Lack of mental capacity to make a deed or will must be proven by the challenger’s clear and convincing evidence, although the proponenet of a will needs to prove capacity only by a preponderance.
There are others, I am sure, but you get the point. Muster the necessary quality of proof or fail.
So, what exactly does constititute clear and convincing evidence, anyway? The COA in Hill v. Harper, 18 So.3d 310, 318 (Miss. App. 2005), defined clear and convincing evidence as:
“That weight of proof which produces in the mind of the trier of fact a firm belief or conviction as to the truth of the allegations sought to be established, evidnce so clear, direct and weighty and convincing as to enable the fact finder to come to a clear conviction, without hesitancy, of the truth of the precise facts of the case. Moran v. Fairley, 919 So.2d 969, 975 ¶24 (Miss. Ct. App. 2005) (quoting Travelhost, Inc. v. Blandford, 68 F.3d 958, 960 (5th Cir. 1995)). ‘Clear and convincing evidence is such a high standard that even the overwhelming weight of the evidence does not rise to the same level.’ Id. (Citing In re C.B., 574 So.2d 1369, 1375 (Miss. 1990).”
30 Am.Jur.2d, Evidence, §1167, provides this:
“The requirement of “clear and convincing” … evidence does not call for “unanswerable” or “conclusive” evidence. The quality of proof, to be clear and convincing has … been said to be somewhere between the rule in ordinary civil cases and the requirement of criminal procedure — that is, it must be more than a mere preponderance but not beyond a reasonable doubt. It has also been said that the term “clear and convincing” evidence means that the witnesses to a fact must be found to be credible, and that the facts to which they have testified are distinctly remembered and the details thereof narrated exactly and in due order, so as to enable the trier of facts to come to a clear conviction, without hesitancy, of the truth of the weighing, comparing , testing, and judging its worth when considered in connection with all the facts and circumstances in evidence.