Proof of crime may be divided into three parts: (1) a specific kind of injury or loss, the burned dwelling house in arson, for example, or the body in homicide; (2) the criminal agency of another as the means; and (3) the identity of the defendant as the perpetrator. Only the first two elements, however, constitute the corpus delicti, and it is only the corpus delicti which need be established by “some evidence” in addition to defendant’s extra-judicial confession or admission. No jurisdiction requires proof in addition to defendant’s extra-judicial confession or admission that defendant was the perpetrator.

The central problem in the corpus delicti area is to determine the quantum of evidence in addition to the confession or admission which is needed in order to sustain a conviction. The basic purpose here is to review the Nebraska cases on the question, to compare them with decisions elsewhere, and to predict the probable course of future decisions in Nebraska.

I. Introduction

II. American Law in General

III. The Law in Nebraska