Chapter 2: The Legal System in the United States

Gordon County Courthouse in Calhoun, Georgia

The requirement of proof beyond a reasonable doubt has this vital role in our criminal procedure for cogent reasons. The accused, during a criminal prosecution, has at stake interests of immense importance, both because of the possibility that he may lose his liberty upon conviction and because of the certainty that he would be stigmatized by the conviction.

   —In re: Winship, cited in Section 2 “Burden of Proof in a Criminal Prosecution”

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