To convict a person of a felony, the criminal law requires that the corpus delicti be established beyond a reasonable doubt. The corpus delicti is made up of three elements: (1) there must be an injury or loss; (2) the injury or loss must result from the doing of a criminal act; and (3) the accused must be identified as the doer of the criminal act. Unless the accused confesses or admits the crime, all three of these elements must be proved by competent evidence which will exclude all reasonable doubt of his guilt. Where there is an infra-judicial confession, which amounts to a plea of guilty, these elements need not be proved since the accused, in effect, admits all the facts charged in the indictment; assuming, of course, that the indictment is well pleaded and admits the legal crime to which the plea is directed.
Lawrence L. Wilson,
Extra-Judicial Confessions — Sufficiency of Corroboration,
33 Neb. L. Rev. 495
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