Professor R. Seals
April 4, 2013
Burden of Proof
Does anyone know what the most important rule of evidence is in the trial of civil cases? If you said “The Burden Of Proof”, you would be right. In a criminal trial the burden of proof is required of the prosecutor to prove the guilt of the accused is ”beyond , a reasonable doubt” much more difficult hurdle than the preponderance of proof required in a civil case.
The person bringing the lawsuit, the plaintiff has the burden of proving the elements of his lawsuit. There are limited circumstances in which the defendant must prove a defense. This usually arises when the defendant has raised what is known as an “affirmative defense.”
At the beginning of a federal criminal case the main characters involved are the U.S. Attorney, who is known as the Prosecutor and the grand jury. Evidence must be so strong that there is no reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime.
After a person is arrested you will usually have a pretrial service or the officer of the court will immediately interview the defendant and conduct some investigation of his back ground. This will help a judge determine if the person should be released into the community and impose conditions of release.
The prosecution is required to produce credible evidence to prove every element of each crime charged. The collective mass of things, especially testimony and exhibits, presented before the tribunal in a given dispute.
This is a brief definition by ( Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Ed.(2009).
When one is “beyond doubt” or an issue has been settled” beyond doubt,” it means that certainty has been established to such a degree that there could be no question whatsoever of the truth.
On almost every question, the only people who claim to be 100% beyond doubt are gods, egotist and fanatics. Mature people generally allow for the possibility, however slim, that what they know for certain may be disproved. This information is from “Barron’s Dictionary of Legal Terms,” by Steven H. Gifis In an oddity of the American System of political freedom that the one class of persons who are capable of enforcing the Bill Of Rights for all American citizens are those that are accused of the crime. It is in the American system that the state has the highest obligation to prove guilt.
He who does not carry the burden of proof carries the benefit of assumption, which means that no evidence is needed to support his claim. When you fulfill the burden of proof you effectively capture the benefit of assumption and pass the burden of proof off to another party.
The presumption of innocence places a legal burden upon the prosecution to prove all elements of the offense.
This should not be confused with evidential burden, which is an obligation that shifts between parties over the course of the hearings or trials. It is not the burden of proof, but the burden to adduce sufficient evidence to properly raise an issue at court.
There were double murders in June 1994 that made headlines and will go down in history as one of the most talked about cases ever. Some even call it The “Trial of The Century.” O.J. Simpson’s murder case (The People of the State of California v. Orenthal James Simpson) It seemed to have every ones attention for many reasons. What played starring roles in the beginning of this trial were of course “The Burden Of Proof” and “ Moral Certainty.” There just seemed to be reasonable doubt when it came down to it.
Jurors in criminal cases in the United States have been instructed for nearly 150 years that a conviction should be based on a finding that guilt had been established “ Beyond Reasonable Doubt” The clause that came into play was Moral Certainty.
The phrase is fraught with uncertainty as to meaning but try: “you better be damned sure.” Generally speaking, it is meant to be a tougher...