• Yes, but not undesirable.

    Yes, burdens of proof are uncertain, given your understanding of the question. The phrasing is a bit awkward. The process whereby the plaintiff or defendant bears the burden of proof to win a motion or to achieve a verdict, are certain and plainly explained in laws and decisions. The process whereby fallible professionals must make their best decision based on information presented, sometimes ignoring information of dubious provenance, is naturally uncertain. However, it is reasonably functional and more desirable than any alternative heretofore practiced.

  • It can be hard to know for certain.

    Unless there is hard, physical proof of something, we can never be entirely, 100% sure of what happened. Often, in a court of law, decisions are not made, and not able to be made, with complete certainty. Sometimes we have to work with extremely educated guesses. It depends on the case.

  • Burdens of proof depend on how the jury understands the instructions

    The judge tells the jury to only find a defendant guilty in a criminal case "beyond a reasonable doubt", a civil case "by preponderance of the evidence", and in an involuntary commitment case "clear and convincing evidence". In the ruling that created that last standard the Supreme Court said it was supposed to be between the other two but realistically there's no way of enforcing that. Judges don't tell jurors "this means X%" certainty (besides that preponderance of the evidence is just weighing the evidence with no weight towards either side which means 50%+1), it's up to their interpretation, and even with percentages the psychological weight could effectively make for example a 20% difference between 50% and 70% work out in practice to be larger than a 20% difference between 70% and 90%. Since the weight everyday people give to words changes burden of proof is truly uncertain. It depends on who you get. On average it will reflect what most people hold these words to mean in society. Worrisome, some jurors when asked by researchers what percentage beyond a reasonable doubt was, said "50%". Hypothetically if people conceive of the words "clear and convincing" as demanding stronger evidence and if this were a trend and it grew then regardless of what the Supreme Court intended in practice the standard for involuntary commitment could exceed the standards for criminal trials, though personally I think that the standard should be the same. The Supreme Court appears to legislate from the bench in Addington saying that this is allowable because proving a psychiatric diagnosis beyond a reasonable doubt is "too hard". There's nothing in the Constitution that allows for an exception to our rights because providing enough evidence is too hard or else we should be able to lower the evidentiary threshhold for arson given that it's one of the hardest crimes to prove. As it is the Supreme Court contradicts itself. It says it's too hard given the available science to prove a psychiatric diagnosis, yet the defendant in this case admitted to being mentally ill. The issue wasn't whether the defendant was or was not mentally ill (and shouldn't be the issue) but whether he posed a danger to himself or others, something a lot easier to prove than a psychiatric diagnosis which given his behavior (if you read about it) and the fact that he admitted to having it (like most people do in these cases, the claim isn't usually that there is no disorder just that it's not that serious) I would think would not be hard to prove (he was acquitted by the Supreme Court but only because the state chose "preponderance of the evidence" and SCOTUS said that was unacceptable), he may have been committed under "Beyond a reasonable doubt" given the circumstances" SCOTUS should've used the case to send a message to states: "follow the rules in our Constitution next time and there won't be a problem".

  • The prosecutor has the burden of proof in a criminal case; not the jury.

    I am not sure what point MasturDbtor is trying to make; he is sticking his nose into a subject that he obviously knows very little about. He is entitled to his two cents’ worth, which is about the value of MasturDbtor’s legal dissertation.

    Very few criminal and civil cases make trial, and most of those that do go to trial are bench trials where the judge decides, very few are jury trials; therefore, there are no jury instructions.

    He is misusing the phrase ‘burden of proof.’ The burden of proof in a criminal case is on the state or Federal prosecutor who must prove beyond a reasonable doubt based on the evidence that the defendant is guilty of the criminal charge or charges. For the few trials that make it to the jury, the jury must decide based on the evidence presented within strict guidelines, which are contained in the written jury instructions given by the judge. The judge will discuss the standard of proof that jurors should apply to the case, “beyond a reasonable doubt.” There are no percentages discussed.

    All those percentages MasturDbtor is throwing around are not used by any Judge in his instructions to a jury; I have no idea where he is getting that nonsense or what he is trying to say. And, he does not cite his sources for those percentages.

    In the Addington v. Texas 1979 landmark case, the United States Supreme Court set the standard for involuntary commitment for treatment by raising the burden of proof required to commit persons for psychiatric treatment from the usual civil burden of proof of “preponderance of the evidence” to “clear and convincing evidence.

    He forgets to mention that most criminal and civil cases are not heard by juries. It looks good on TV with Perry Mason and Matlock, but juries are only involved in a small number of cases. Most criminal cases are plea bargained and do not make it to trial. If the defendant in a criminal trial does not agree to the plea bargain, then the defendant has the choice of a bench versus jury trial. In a bench trial, the judge decides whether the state or federal prosecutor has proven their version of the facts ‘beyond a reasonable doubt.’

    Although criminal filings increased substantially over the past several decades, the vast majority of these cases ended with plea agreements, resulting in a dramatic decrease in the percentage of criminal cases that actually proceed to trial, which is usually a bench trial (i.e. the judge decides, there is no jury). This varies by state, e.g., in 2005, there were about 1.4 million criminal cases in Calif. About 1.396 million of those cases were settled by plea bargaining/plea agreements. Of the 37,384 cases that went to trial, only 21% (7,927 cases) were jury trials, the rest were bench trials without juries.
    http:// www. californialaw review. org/assets/pdfs/100-1/04- Frampton.pdf
    www. lao. cj_primer/cj_ primer_013107. aspx

    MasturDbtor, what exactly was the point you were trying to make?

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