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ENG 3C1. What is “Reasonable Doubt”?. Make some inferences about this cartoon. Rule of Law:.
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ENG 3C1 What is “Reasonable Doubt”?
Rule of Law: • The Rule of Law is the “fundamental principle that society is governed by law that applies equally to all persons and that neither an individual not the government is above the law” (All About Law 619) • This principle illustrates that no one is above the law, not even government officials or movie stars • Promotes equality under the law
We the jury, find the defendant... • In criminal court a defendant(the one that is accused of the crime) has the right to have his/her case tried by a jury of his/her peers (twelve people that make up an ‘unbiased’ panel of citizens to interpret the evidence an determine a verdict); • This jury must find the defendant guilty OR not guilty unanimously(everyone agree), not majority, which is reserved for civil court; • The jury must return with a verdict of either guilty or not guilty beyond ALL reasonable doubt...what does this mean?
Reasonable Doubt: • “The level of certainty a juror must have to find a defendant guilty of a crime. A real doubt, based upon reason and common sense after careful and impartial consideration of all the evidence, or lack of evidence, in a case.; • “Proof beyond a reasonable doubt, therefore, is proof of such a convincing character that you would be willing to rely and act upon it without hesitation. • However, it does not mean an absolute certainty. http://www.lectlaw.com/def2/q016.htm
Reasonable Doubt cont’d: • This is the standard of proof that the prosecution must meet • A juror must be able to rest assured that the defendant committed the crime without any real possibility of error; essentially, there must be no room for doubt in the prosecution’s case against the defendant (i.e. no other suspects, tight timeline, strong evidence and credible testimony, etc.)
Burden of Proof: • The burden of proof means that one side bears the responsibility to prove that the accused committed the crime • This burden (responsibility) rests with the prosecution (Crown attorney) that must prove beyond ALL reasonable doubt that the accused committed the crime—no one else and no room for error
The Verdict: • When a jury returns with a GUILTY verdict, then the accused becomes convicted and returns to custody (lock-up) and will await sentencing (penalty/punishment); • When a jury returns with a NOT GUILTY verdict, then the accused is acquitted and is free to go
Hung Jury: • If the jury cannot reach a verdict, the judge may review the evidence and ask jurors to deliberate further • If the jury still cannot seem to reach a unanimous verdict and the judge does not believe that the jury will not be able to return with a satisfactory verdict, then they are dismissed and a new trial is ordered (All About Law 246)
What does this look like? • View this clip of Boston Legal, an American legal drama/comedy show, season 4, episode 2:“The Innocent Man.” • Pay careful attention to the defense’s closing arguments and look for examples of reasonable doubt