“One reason that [Beyond a Reasonable Doubt] is so difficult to understand is that no one can define what it means…not even the judge in a jury trial. ” ~ Misty Fields Esq.
This sentiment of frustration is common among Criminal Defense Counselors. When determining just how strong evidence must be to convict, no one is allowed to tell a Jury what the level is! Not even a judge may do this.
If a juror comes to the judge and says “Judge could you please give me SOME idea of how high or low this Burden of Proof is supposed to be? The judge has to say no. Our lawmakers literally set the level of proof at…. whatever each juror decides.
Prosecutors will often try to lower the burden of proof as much as possible. They use very misleading analogies such as “Imagine you are putting together a puzzle of a bengal tiger. How many pieces of that puzzle would you really need before you know what the picture is?”
They use this analogy when they would not be able to prove someone guilty to the level of certainty required by the constitution. This analogy lowers the level of certainty the jurors think they need to convict. Effectively taking away your constitutional rights.
The State is also given advantages in trial. Not many people know this. The State is allowed to give a closing statement TWICE. Once at the beginning of closing and once at the end. The defense attorney can only make one statement and it is right in the middle of the State's closing argument. Studies show that when jurors are trying to maintain their attention, they overwhelmingly remember what was said at the beginning and at the end, however they forget much of what what said in the middle. This memory loss is due to mental exhaustion. In the middle of a proceeding like this, the human brain takes a brake. Because of the mental brake, their brains do not listen to the story, the argument, or anything else the defense attorney has to say. When the prosecutor comes back for her 2nd closing statement -the 3rd and final statement- the jurors know the end is near and their minds wake back up for the final stretch. The Defense attorney is allowed to give a statement only during this gap in attentiveness.
The country should follow the lead of Louisiana which only allows one closing argument for each attorney and trials should happen within 90 days, not two or three years after the event which is currently the norm. The accused should be taken before a judge before being put in jail, no matter what time of day they are arrested. These are some of the ways you go about giving Americans their constitutional presumption of innocence. What we currently do is backwards.