Reasonable Doubt Ratcheting: How Jurors Adjust the Standard of Proof to Reach a Desired Result

Reasonable Doubt Ratcheting: How Jurors Adjust the Standard of Proof to Reach a Desired Result, Forthcoming

10 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2020

See all articles by Michael Conklin

Michael Conklin

Angelo State University - Business Law

Date Written: 2020

Abstract

Research has already been conducted into how jurors alter the reason-able doubt standard based on different legal definitions of the standard provided and perceived harshness of punishment. This article discusses the findings of research that is the first to analyze how jurors also alter the reasonable doubt standard based on their sympathy toward the defendant — namely, how jurors “ratchet up” reasonable doubt to acquit sympathetic defendants and “ratchet down” reasonable doubt to convict unsympathetic defendants. Political affiliation and gender are also analyzed for potential causal relationships with this effect. The results of this novel re-search provide valuable information for trial attorneys, judges, and advocates of criminal justice reform.

Keywords: Burden of Proof, Reasonable Doubt, Juror Decision Making, Jury Selection, Voir Dire, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, Sympathetic Plaintiff, Juror Gender, Juror Political Affiliation

Suggested Citation

Conklin, Michael, Reasonable Doubt Ratcheting: How Jurors Adjust the Standard of Proof to Reach a Desired Result (2020). Reasonable Doubt Ratcheting: How Jurors Adjust the Standard of Proof to Reach a Desired Result, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3605955

Michael Conklin (Contact Author)

Angelo State University - Business Law ( email )

United States

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