anotherlongshot (anotherlongshot) wrote,

what is a 'reasonable doubt'?

In a 1894 case from the Utah Territory, a judge while giving his instructions to the jury, explained the concept of 'reasonable doubt' thus:

"A reasonable doubt is not an unreasonable doubt."

Seriously? Couldn't have known that. It's like explaining what 'white' is: White is not black. Good is not bad. Love is not hate. What?

More hilariously, the defendant who was apparently convicted appealed to the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court upheld the conviction, "insisting that the judge's language 'gives all the definition of reasonable doubt which a court can be required to give.'" (Larry Laudan, "The Unraveling of Reasonable Doubt" in Truth, Error and Criminal Law at 34)

Note, also, an oddly and somewhat inappropriately succinct summing up of the law on what constitutes reasonable doubt and beyond a reasonable doubt by my hilarious lecturer: "What is beyond reasonable doubt is a matter of doubt."

Law is so hilarious sometimes.


On another note, I am left without much of a reasonable doubt that I am fucking behind for both Evidence and Personal Prop. I AM DEAD. Beyond a reasonable doubt. Because it is unreasonable for me to doubt that I am not dead.

It doesn't help that the right side of my neck has mysteriously begun to ache.

I haven't shopped since post-Rational Social Choice paper. Which was October 1. I SERIOUSLY need to shop. BUT I HAVE NO TIME. Life is so miserable.

Tags: exams, hilarious people, law, law school, shopping

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