Friday, September 7, 2018


Beyond a reasonable doubt.

What is reasonable doubt?  What is doubt? Who has to prove what in court?

First let's do an easy one.  Before they can lock you or anyone away, the government, represented by the prosecutor,  must prove you did what they say you did. Neither you nor anyone who is charged has to prove anything.  You only have to show a valid reason to not believe you committed the acts you are charged with.

Doubt is a reason to believe that something didn't happened the way you are told it happened. A reasonable doubt, is a valid reason to not believe that something happened the way you were told it happened.

 What's the difference?

It is not valid, to doubt what you have been told happened, because the person charged has green eyes, and you believe people with green eyes can't do bad things.  It is valid to doubt what you have been told happened if the accused person has green eyes and the witness gave a detailed description including that the person they saw had blue eyes.  That, for this writer at least, would raise a reasonable doubt.

We often, as public, sit in judgment,  of a court judgment without the burden of having to follow the rules, or the responsibly of the decision.  We make up our minds based on outrage, tribalistic instincts, sympathy or any number of personal experiences that sometimes can be helpful to understand the situation,  or cloud our thinking.

We need to relax and let the process work while understanding why it works the way it does.  Hopefully before we are sitting in court, charged with a very publicised crime, based on a vague description we happen to fit.  Public outrage is not proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

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