Monday, 21 January 2008

Reasonable Doubt

The Chronicle Review has an interesting article about the origins of the doctrine of "reasonable doubt". According to a new book, The Origins of Reasonable Doubt: Theological Roots of the Criminal Trial by Yale Law professor James Q. Whitman, reasonable doubt was not designed primarily as a protection for defendants, nor as a rule of factual proof. Rather, the doctrine emerged in common law as a protection for jurors' souls, an assurance that jurors could convict a defendant without risking their own salvation.

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