We have all heard on tv and movies the phrase “beyond a reasonable doubt,” but who really knows what it is? Beyond a reasonable doubt isn’t just the standard that defense attorneys rattle off during a jury trial, it’s the core of the American criminal justice system.
In the wake of the Casey Anthony acquittal, citizens across the United States are asking “how?” As the nation watched the trial continue on, the public opinion seemed to point to an easy answer of “guilty.” However, the 12 citizens that watched the Anthony trial the closest had a different opinion.
It has been difficult for many citizens to understand how the Anthony jury came to the not-guilty verdict. However, I can explain it in two words: reasonable doubt.
In any criminal case the prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed a crime. Reasonable doubt is the highest standard in the criminal justice system. It doesn’t mean that the prosecution has to prove more likely than not the defendant committed the crime, or that there is a 51% chance the defendant committed the crime. Beyond a reasonable doubt is higher than that.
Many times reasonable doubt is compared to a puzzle- if at the end of the trial there is a puzzle piece missing, that is the reasonable doubt, and the defendant should be found not guilty. The Anthony jury found that there was something missing to the prosecution’s case. The Anthony jury understood reasonable doubt and held the prosecution its burden. However, it is important to understand that reasonable doubt does not mean innocent. Although the Anthony jury did not find Anthony guilty, that doesn’t mean that she wasn’t guilty of something. The prosecution may have overcharged the case and not had enough evidence to support those charges. In any criminal case, the prosecution must choose wisely the charges that they believe the evidence will support.
If you are under investigation or charged with a violent crime or sex crime, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights. Visit Mr. Freeman online for more information.criminal defense attorney