Corpus Delicti Law and Legal Definition

Corpus delicti is a Latin term meaning "body of the crime". It is the essential facts that prove that a crime has been committed.

The doctrine of corpus delicti is the requirement that the state prove that a crime has been committed prior to allowing a confession to be admitted into evidence. The primary function of the rule is to reduce the risk of convicting a defendant based on his confession for a crime that did not occur. Other justifications include the reduction of confessions produced by coercive tactics and the encouragement of thorough police investigations.