Quantifying Reasonable Doubt
47 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2018 Last revised: 18 Nov 2018
Date Written: August 5, 2018
Complaints from judges, lawyers, and scholars concerning the indefiniteness of the reasonable doubt standard are manifold. Recognizing its critical importance in criminal adjudication, supernumerary analyses of the concept have been suggested, yet the courts have rejected all but tautological attempts to define the concept. This article takes stock of the present state of the law and scholarship, advancing several new arguments for probabilistic articulations of reasonable doubt. Additionally, a comprehensive review of case law is used to derive certainty thresholds from judicial pronouncements of Blackstonian ratios in the fifty states and federal system.
Keywords: Reasonable Doubt, Standard of Proof, Blackstone's Ratio
JEL Classification: K14, K41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation