United States v. Copeland: A Collateral Attack on the Legal Maxim that Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt is Unquantifiable?

34 Pages Posted: 10 Aug 2006  

Peter Tillers

Yeshiva University - Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law

Jonathan Gottfried

Friedman, Kaplan, Seiler & Adelman LLP

Date Written: August 9, 2006

Abstract

There is a well settled maxim that the standard of persuasion in criminal trials - proof beyond a reasonable doubt - is unquantifiable. However, the usual reasons given for the unquantifiability of reasonable doubt are unsatisfactory; and a recent case, United States v. Copeland, serves as a reminder that strong considerations favor quantification of at least some standards of persuasion. This comment attempts to bring greater clarity to the question of the advantages and disadvantages of some form of quantification of the reasonable doubt standard.

Keywords: evidence, inference, proof, standard of persuasion, proof beyond a reasonable doubt, mathematics in trials, proof in criminal trials, trial by mathematics, proof and mathematics

Suggested Citation

Tillers, Peter and Gottfried, Jonathan, United States v. Copeland: A Collateral Attack on the Legal Maxim that Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt is Unquantifiable? (August 9, 2006). Cardozo Legal Studies Research Paper No. 160. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=923480 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.923480

Peter Tillers (Contact Author)

Yeshiva University - Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law ( email )

55 Fifth Ave.
New York, NY 10003
United States
212-790-0334 (Phone)
212-790-0205 (Fax)

Jonathan Gottfried

Friedman, Kaplan, Seiler & Adelman LLP ( email )

1633 Broadway
New York, NY 10019
United States

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