Ultimate fact

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In law, the ultimate fact is the conclusion (or conclusions) of factual evidence made by a jury after deliberation.

One common definition is "in a trial, a conclusion of fact which is logically deduced from evidence...."[1][2] It is "the conclusion arrived during a trial based on the evidentiary facts."[3]

An example would be the conclusion that somebody was liable for negligence because he sped, drove over a double line, skidded and lost control of his car.[4] The jury can make out the ultimate fact when a man enters his apartment, a woman screams from inside, and the police find the man inside the apartment with his gun in his hand standing over his dead wife, that he murdered her.[5]

A classic case, under New York law, is People v. Murphy.[6] In that case, the defendant[7] was rebuffed by his drug dealer's girlfriend and her sister, he invaded their apartment, sought and found a hammer, and hit each of three females (the pregnant girlfriend, her sister and her niece) with the claw end of the hammer, several times, on their heads. The ultimate fact decided by the jury was that he intended to kill all three of them. (He only succeeding in killing the girlfriend. The boyfriend returned from an overnight incarceration, rescuing the survivors. Their baby was delivered by caesarean section, the sister and her daughter also survived.)[8]


  1. ^ Law.com dictionary
  2. ^ Legal-Dictionary.com
  3. ^ Legal-explanations.com
  4. ^ Supra, at [1] and [2].
  5. ^ Supra, at Legal-explanations.com
  6. ^ People v Murphy, 235 A.D.2d 933, 654 N.Y.S.2d 187 (3rd Dept 1997). Online at Findlaw.com; accessed April 4, 2011.
  7. ^ Colin Murphy, see NYS Department of Correctional Services Inmate Lookup Archived 2008-04-20 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Id. 235 A.D.2d 933, 654 N.Y.S.2d 187.

See also[edit]