Saturday, January 05, 2008

Levels of Proof

One of the many legal fictions in the justice system (which in itself is an oxymoron) is that people are presumed innocent. Sure, we all pay lip service when we are called for jury duty, but you know that everyone is already thinking "What did he do?" before the charges are even read. The unfortunate effect of this, is that the burden has shifted from the State proving a case, to the Defendant having to disprove it.
I bring this up, because so many on the Left have decided that Conrad is probably still guilty, even though the investigation into his ties with Abramoff has been dismissed. So, in the interests of educating the public, a short primer on the levels of proof required by our legal system.
Particularized Suspicion
This is more than a hunch, but enough for law enforcement to stop you and ask your identification, and what you are doing. The foot in the door by the State to begin the investigation.
Probable Cause
Slightly more proof is required in order to charge you with a crime. This is nothing more than "it could have happened." This gets you into court to answer the charges. But remember, you are still innocent until the case is presented to the fact finder.
Preponderance of the Evidence
To win a civil suit and get a court to order that you are entitled to money, this is the standard. Medical Malpractice, trespass, all sorts of torts are covered by this level of proof. It is nothing more than 50%+.
Clear and Convincing
If you are an unfit parent, the State has to present Clear and Convincing evidence to take your kids from you. So, take your money, just over half, take your kids takes quite a bit more.
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
The highest level of proof. Not beyond any doubt, but such that if it could reasonably have an alternative answer, the only result must be Not Guilty.

So, take your money - just over half, take your kids - quite a bit more, but to take your freedom, well, that is the highest level and for good reason.

The fact that the investigation was closed against Conrad means that he is still "innocent" in the eyes of the law. He may not be innocent to partisans who are more than willing to believe the worst of anyone who is not a Democrat, but he is still considered to be legally innocent.

There have been some false comparisons with OJ Simpson in Conrad's case. This just betrays their lack of understanding. OJ went to trial, where the only verdicts are Guilty or Not Guilty. That doesn't mean that OJ was innocent. Since Conrad hasn't been charged, the only determination is that he is innocent.

4 comments:

Sui Juris said...

Steve— I suspect you have not been keeping up with your continuing legal education, because you failed to mention a level of proof that has been widely adopted by retarded people, such as Mark T., feminist neurotics, such as Rebecca, and paranoid-schizophrenics, such as Colby Natale.

The new level of proof is called “generalized suspicion.” It is one level below particularized suspicion. The main difference between the two is that with particularized suspicion you get to stick your foot in the door; whereas with generalized suspicion you get to stick your foot in your mouth.

--Sui Juris

Jim Lang said...

That Bush Justice Department is so vigorous in 'investigating' charges against Republicans that they didn't even bother to question Burns. I wonder what the statute of limitations is on influence peddling? Maybe Burns' buddies in the administration aren't interested in investigating, but that doesn't mean the next administration won't investigate.

Burns is probably happier now as a full-time lobbyist - he no longer has to pretend to care about Montana, and can focus full-time on worhipping his God - money.

laevs said...

Why do we have to wait for the “next administration,” Jim? Your Democrats have been doing wall-to-wall investigations for just over a year now. Why can’t they investigate Burns? (It’s OK for you say “Duh” here if your little imagination fails you.)

And besides, what makes you think President Romney will be interested in starting an investigation?

Steve said...

Sorry Jim, but using your logic, they would have investigated and 15 minutes later "cleared" Burns. I realize that even paranoids can have enemies, but you really do have less of them than you imagine.