Reasonable doubt is a part of the facade of state justice that hides the crimes of kidnapping and duress (imprisonment) and even murder (execution) committed by the state behind an appearance of reason. Those who believe in absolute morality will reject these means out of hand.
Those who accept relative morality will accept the premise that it may be necessary for a state to commit such crimes. Even in this case, only the dishonest would object to such crimes being reckoned as such so that the costs and benefits of their use remains positive.
The historical use of state crime is based on two things: the desire of the state to order and control, and the desire of humankind for vengeance. When only the state wielded the law, vengeance favored those with power alone. But since some of the power for vengeance has been handed to the people, it has suited the state to sustain the people's desire for their vengeance in order to maintain the state's power of ready servants and deadly weapons that lies behind its laws.
This has a primary means, in terms of number of people affected, the relentlessness of the means, and the power of powerlessness; the problem is presented over and over, and there is never another solution presented to upset the status quo. The great majority of people are afflicted with fear and therefore vengeance by the nightly local news. Every night, one more violent criminal and victim presents to the city's many thousands of residents a story of vengeance; this is repeated in the thousands of cities in an orgy of disproportion.
However, there is a tension between this vengeance and mercy; not much of one, but it is there. It is shown most clearly in the case of criminal law, where although the state has a motive to exert a lesser degree of lenience, and the threat to society is more clear-loss of property being for the most part the only consequence of civil cases, it nonetheless gives the protection of a higher standard of proof to the accused. The more cynical might claim that this because crafters of civil law might see themselves as potentially accused, and want to get off, where if they were the plaintiff in a civil case, they might have only money to lose.
They who do not carry the burden of proof carries the presumption of innocence (WP), or benefit of assumption, meaning they need no evidence to support their claim. However, this is also sleight of hand, since fulfilling the burden of proof effectively captures the benefit of assumption. Presumption of innocence disappears; logically, this it should remain for all other matters than the one that has been proven, but even those writing about law talk about the benefit of assumption being captured, as though it were a common occurrence when it should be very unlikely in court for all doubt to be removed and the burden of proof to be passed off to the defense; why do they even mention such a thing, if it were not common practice to ignore their own rules and remove the presumption of innocence?
Burden of proof Edit
The burden of proof is often associated with the Latin maxim semper necessitas probandi incumbit ei qui agit, the best translation of which seems to be: "the necessity of proof always lies with the person who lays charges."
- Main article: Preponderance of evidence
Grand jury indictment proceedings are afforded this standard, and unlike civil proceedings, are procedurally unrebuttable. Family court determinations solely involving money, such as child support under the Wikipedia:Child Support Standards Act. During the 1960s, the rights of youth became an issue in the United States (WP), and after 1970, preponderance of evidence was dropped as the standard used in juvenile court.
The standard is met if the proposition is more likely to be true than not true. Effectively, the standard is satisfied if there is greater than 50 percent chance that the proposition is true. Lord Denning, in Miller v. Minister of Pensions, described it simply as "more probable than not."
In science and statistics and philosophy and probability itself, this is garbage. It is widely accepted that there is no way to assign mathematical values to truth, nor to eliminate all doubt, and "reasonable" is the most facilely obvious subjective judgement. It is beyond the current means of humankind even to assign probabilities to complex events, as the character Spock does in early Star Trek episodes.
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