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Legal Definition of Reasonable Doubt

Posted 6. November 2022 by Logistik-Express in Allgemein

An indictment by the jury, which quantifies the degree of certainty required to establish guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt,” and a diligent review of the appeal to ensure that a jury has reasonably found guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt” can help ensure that this revered phrase is taken seriously. Note: Proof of guilt beyond a doubt is required for the conviction of a defendant. There is reasonable doubt when an investigator cannot say with moral certainty that a person is guilty or that a particular fact exists. It must be more than an imaginary doubt, and it is often defined in court as a doubt that would make a reasonable person hesitate before acting on an important issue. [xviii] See, for example, United States v. Hall, 854 F.2d 1036, 1037–39 (7th Cir. 1988) (“[W]e have denounced the use of instructions that attempt to define reasonable doubts. »); see also Murphy v. Holland, 776 F.2d 470, 478–79 (4th cir. 1985); United States v.

Davis, 328 F.2d 864, 867–68 (2d cir. 1964). In one case, a jury asked for a “lay explanation” for “reasonable doubts,” and an appeals court said the trial judge acted correctly by simply re-reading the original charges. See People v. Redd, 266 A.D.2d 12, 12, 698 N.Y.S.2d 214, 215 (1 Dep`t 1999). Humphrey v. Cain, 120 F.3d 526 (5th Cir. 1997), revised and remanded in custody for other reasons, 138 F.3d 522 (5th Cir.) (bench). The Second Circuit noted that “if a reasonable subpoena in doubt contains multiple definitions of reasonable doubt, the likelihood that the jury will misunderstand one definition is increased by other problematic definitions that give it broader context.” Gaines v. Kelly, 202 F.3d 598, 609 (2d cir. 2000). Some judges tell a jury that a reasonable doubt is “a doubt based on reason.” [xix] There are three shortcomings in this development.

First, it contradicts the idea that a juror should have the right to vote “not guilty,” just with instinct, without any artificial reasoning. [xx] Second, it can lead to confusion as to whether the juror has a doubt why a reason can be thought up in the mind of the jury or a doubt that the juror can express to the other jurors. [xxi] Third, it could mislead a jury by turning to the defendant for an explanation. [xxii] The term “reason-based” has been the subject of some criticism, especially in an earlier period. [xxiii] In Jackson v. Virginia,[xxiv] the Supreme Court stated that “[a] reasonable doubt rests at least on reason.” [xxv] The standard of reasonable doubt was originally and now used to minimize the likelihood that an innocent person will be convicted, but there has been some dispute as to why this result is being avoided. Although the standard now serves to make a conviction more difficult, or at least to increase the accuracy of a conviction, one researcher, James Q. Whitman, a law professor at Yale, wrote that his original purpose was to facilitate conviction.

[i] The reason: The jury feared that if it found an innocent person guilty, he would be severely punished in the afterlife. According to Whitman, “the rational formula of doubt was originally to protect the souls of the jury from damnation.” [ii] Whitman goes on to explain: “The conviction of an innocent defendant was considered a potential mortal sin in the ancient Christian tradition. The reasonable doubt rule was one of many rules and procedures developed in response to this troubling possibility. It was originally a theological doctrine designed to assure jurors that they could convict the accused without risking their own rescue, as long as their doubts about guilt were not “reasonable.” [iii] Beyond a reasonable doubt, the legal burden of proof is necessary to confirm a conviction in a criminal matter. In criminal proceedings, the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that the prosecution must convince the jury that there is no other reasonable explanation that can emerge from the evidence presented at trial. In other words, the jury must be virtually certain of the guilt of the accused in order to reach a guilty verdict. This standard of proof is much higher than the civil law standard, which is called the “preponderance of evidence” and requires only more than 50% certainty. In 1987, a subcommittee of the U.S. Judicial Conference`s Committee on the Operation of the Jury System proposed a model jury indictment that included the following words: “Evidence beyond a reasonable doubt is evidence that makes you firmly convinced of the guilt of the accused.” [xlv] Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg supported this indictment, stating, “This model of instruction surpasses others I have seen in formulating the reasonable standard of doubt in a brief and comprehensible manner.” [xlvi] I agree. If certainty (or certainty) is considered a continuum, “beyond a reasonable doubt” means that the probative value of the evidence of guilt has reached a very advanced point in a continuum of certainty.

If the continuum were expressed in numerical terms, with a scale of certainty ranging from 0 to 100, the “near certainty” Winship and Jackson need as evidence beyond a reasonable doubt would likely be reached at least above 90, preferably 95. A study published in 1999 found that many judges were unsure of what “beyond a doubt” meant. They usually thought in percentages and debated and disagreed with each other on the percentage of certainty required for “beyond reasonable doubt,” interpreting it differently as 100%, 95%, 75%, and even 50%. At times, this has led to profound misunderstandings about the standard of proof. [13] Unfortunately, federal courts of appeal have repeatedly used Stewart J.A.`s second version of a constitutional standard to consider allegations that the reasonable doubt standard was not met. As shown in the table below,[lix] until the end of 2018, the phrase “a rational judge of fact” was used in the vast majority of criminal appeals challenging the constitutional sufficiency of the evidence, and the phrase “could reasonably support a finding of guilt” was rarely used. Then, in 1977, in Freeman v. Zahradnick,[xlix] another Supreme Court prisoner sought review by the Supreme Court on the grounds that the evidence was vitiated by constitutional irregularities. Although the Court denied his application for accreditation, Justice Potter Stewart wrote a dissenting opinion seeking approval of the petition for the specific purpose of reviewing a constitutional standard to consider allegations that the reasonable doubt standard was not met. “Yes. A federal court finds that no rational judge of fact could have convicted a defendant on the basis of reasonable doubt of the state offense with which he is charged, it is certainly doubtful that the court under Winship should conclude that the convicted defendant was deprived of due process.

[l] In Canada, the phrase “beyond a reasonable doubt” needs to be clarified in favour of the jury. [9] [10] The main decision is R. v. Lifchus,[10] where the Supreme Court discussed the correct elements of an indictment before the jury on the notion of “reasonable doubt” and stated that “the correct explanation of the burden of proof required is essential to ensure a fair criminal trial”. While the Court did not prescribe specific wording that a trial judge must use to explain the concept, it did recommend certain elements that should be included in a jury indictment, as well as comments that should be avoided. Whitman acknowledges that it was not until the late 18th century that English judges began ordering jurors not to convict an accused if there was a “reasonable doubt” about guilt. Whitman recounts a trial in 1782 at the Old Bailey in London, where the judge asked the jury, “Do you have a reasonable doubt [?]”, and a trial in 1783 in which the judge told the jury: “If there is any reasonable doubt in your mind when you examine the evidence. [The accused] will be entitled to your acquittal.

[vii] At the time of a trial in 1796, Whitman reports, a jury indictment contained a formulation familiar today: “The first point. it is necessary for you to determine whether [a signature was genuine] or whether it is a forgery; which, if we were to establish beyond a reasonable doubt, would suffice, because you should not expect mathematical demonstration in the administration of justice proceedings. [viii] Juries must be instructed to apply the standard of reasonable doubt in determining the guilt or innocence of an accused. However, the courts have difficulty defining what constitutes a reasonable doubt. [3] [18] There is disagreement as to whether the jury should be given a definition of “reasonable doubt”. [19] Some state courts have prohibited jury definition. [18] In Victor v.

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