[xxxvi] James Franklin, Case Commentary – United States v Copeland, 369 F. Supp. 2d 365 (E.D.N.Y. 2005): quantification of the `proof beyond a reasonable doubt` standard, 5 L. Probability & Risk 159, 159–65 (2006). Justice Stewart`s first version was perfect. A guilty verdict should only be made if a review court finds that the evidence was sufficient to enable a jury to reasonably establish its guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Stewart J.A.`s fourth version, which set out the Court`s position, wisely contained the adverb “reasonable,” but would have been preferable if it had omitted the phrase “a rational Trier of facts.” To better understand the evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, it is useful to consider the three standards of proof that a court can apply. This purpose is to ensure that the jury does not convict an accused unless it has a high degree of certainty that he or she is guilty. The Supreme Court emphasized this objective in Winship, the decision to establish the standard of “reasonable doubt” as a prerequisite for due process. The Court held that “the reasonable standard of doubt is indispensable, since it inculcates in Trier the need to attain a subjective state of certainty of the facts in question”.

[xli] The court repeated Winship`s “language of certainty” in Jackson v. Virginia[xlii], changed the wording to “almost certainty.” [xliii] As the Jackson court explained, “By instilling the need to attain a subjective state of narrow certainty of the guilt of the accused, the standard [of proof beyond a reasonable doubt] symbolizes the importance that our society attaches to criminal sanctions, and thus to freedom itself.” [xliv] Exactly. The standard is met when the jury has reached “a subjective state of near certainty” regarding the guilt of the accused. If a case raises a serious question as to whether the evidence was sufficient to enable a jury to have faithfully met the reasonable standard of doubt in identifying a defendant, a review tribunal is more likely to apply that standard when considering whether the jury could reasonably have established its guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. You will demonstrate reasonable doubt by investigating and gathering evidence, including testimony, if any, to prove that a prosecutor did not commit the crime of which he or she is accused. Lawyers must use all legal avenues to seek the truth and prove beyond any doubt that their client is innocent. Under U.S. law, an accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty. If the judge or jury has reasonable doubts as to the guilt of the accused, the accused cannot be found guilty. Simply put, reasonable doubt is the highest standard of proof used in any court.

It is used exclusively in criminal cases compared to civil cases, as a criminal conviction could deprive the defendant of liberty or even life. The standard of proof, which is beyond a reasonable doubt, is widespread around the world. The concept of reasonable doubt is imposed only on criminal cases, as the consequences of a conviction are serious. In 1987, a subcommittee of the Committee on the Operation of the Jury System of the United States Judicial Conference proposed a standard jury indictment that included the words: “Evidence beyond a reasonable doubt is evidence that firmly convinces you of the guilt of the accused. [xlv] Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg upheld this indictment, stating, “This model direction surpasses others I have seen by succinctly and comprehensibly framing the reasonable standard of doubt. [xlvi] I agree. Another common explanation is that the evidence must convince jurors of guilt “to moral certainty.” Some federal courts have explicitly rejected the standard of “moral certainty,” fearing that the word “certainty” may conflict with the concept of “reasonable doubt,” although some state courts do not support it. [xxvii] The Supreme Court stated that it “does not tolerate the use of the archaic phrase `moral certainty`,” but has allowed it when reinforced by supposedly clarifying language. [xxviii] Interestingly, the standard of “moral certainty” was originally introduced at the prosecutors` urgent request to reduce their burden, because “moral certainty” was considered “reasonable certainty” – as opposed to the “absolute certainty” they feared the jury would deem necessary. [xxix] [xxxi] Id.

at p. 18. A widely accepted treaty recommends a similar formulation: a reasonable doubt is “a doubt that would make a reasonable person hesitate to act on an important matter in his personal life.” 1 Leonard B. Sand et al., Modern Federal Jury Instructions, § 4.01, Instruction 4-2 (1993). The phrase “hesitant to act” probably comes from a 1922 Alabama State Court case, Posey v. State, 93 So. 272, 273 (Ala. Ct. App.

1922), and was first cited by a federal court in 1939. See Bishop v. United States, 107 F.2d 297, 303 (D.C. Cir. 1939). Jurors are always told that if there is to be a conviction, the prosecution must prove the case without a doubt. This statement can only mean that in order to be acquitted, the prisoner must “satisfy” the jury. It is the law as it is in the Court of Criminal Appeal in Rex v. Davies 29 times LR 350; 8 Cr App R 211, the guiding principle of which rightly states that, in cases where intent forms part of a criminal offence, the defendant is not required to prove that the alleged act was accidental. Throughout the network of English criminal law, there is always a common thread to see that it is the duty of the prosecution to prove the guilt of the prisoner, subject to what I have already said about the defence of insanity and subject to any legal exception. If, ultimately and throughout the case, there is a reasonable doubt caused by the evidence presented by the prosecution or the prisoner as to whether the prisoner killed the deceased with malicious intent, the prosecution has not presented the case and the prisoner is entitled to an acquittal.

Regardless of the charge or the location of the trial, the principle that the prosecution must prove the prisoner`s guilt is part of English common law, and no attempt to reduce it can be upheld.