Essay on Criminal Law And Criminal Justice

826 Words Nov 13th, 2016 4 Pages
In courtrooms across America, cases are heard by judges and juries who must decide on the guilt or innocence of people who stand trial. This legal system is comprised of two different types of cases, civil and criminal. Criminal offenses are prosecuted by the government while civil cases are usually legal disputes between individuals (Maurice, n.d.). In each case, there is a certain standard, which has to be met in order for the facts to be proven against the defendant. In general, the more serious the crime, the higher the standard of proof. A higher standard of proof means that the judge or jury must be more certain that the case has been proven (Maurice, n.d.). In criminal cases, the government or prosecution must prove the case. Since defendants are presumed to be innocent , the prosecution must provide enough evidence to convince the judge or jury of the defendant’s guilt. The criminal defendant must be found guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt” (“Criminal,” n.d.). In civil cases, the standard of proof is a “preponderance of the evidence.” The different standards exist because civil liability is not as serious as compared to a crime and the punishment in a civil case is less severe (Strand, n.d.). A discussion of the various standards of proof required in criminal and civil court is needed in order to discuss the proof “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard that is considered to be the highest level of proof needed to convict a defendant of a crime. There…

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