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What the World Needs Now...

...is LOVE, sweet LOVE

Trending News Analysis, Cultural Explanations, Christian and Catholic Religion Teachings, and more...

  • Janey Jang

Separate Church and State: Stop Demanding the Christian Doctrine "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt" in Rape

Like Jeffrey Epstein and R. Kelly, my rapist will never be prosecuted unless a pattern of behavior is established because there was no evidence. I needed evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he had committed a crime. This requirement seemed unreasonable to put the burden of proof on the victim. So, I researched the origins of this Reasonable Doubt Rule that Anthony Morano calls it. The origin of the Reasonable Doubt Rule comes from the Protestant Reformation to avoid damnation.

Before the Reformation, Romano-canonical law stated that blood punishments (mutilations and executions) were a mortal sin of murder if a judge convicted an innocent person and would be damned to hell (Whitman, p. 25). Continental Europeans argued that judges could avoid damnation of this sin by acting according to the law without personal interest or passion (Whitman, p. 29) because it would be the law convicting the accused, not the judge (Whitman, pp. 26-27).

The British disagreed with the Catholic Church when they split from the Catholic Church (Whitman, p. 33). The British still practiced canon law (Whitman, p. 105), but the British placed the responsibility of guilt on a jury to divide the burden of guilt between the judge and the jury (Whitman, p. 32). The jury retained this sense of guilt that the Continental system practiced (Whitman, p. 105) because jurors thought that they had to keep their oath to God to find the truth (Morano, p. 510) to prevent erroneous convictions (Morano, p. 508). To prevent damnation, canon law had always taught that it is better to take the safer path (Whitman, p. 146).

The safer path doctrine argues that it is better to do something that is least likely to cause sin (Whitman, p. 62). So, when in doubt, don’t do (Whitman, p. 6).

The safer path doctrine led to the presumption of innocence (Morano, p. 509; Whitman, p. 149). It was thought that it was better to acquit a guilty person than to condemn the innocent (Morano, pp. 510-512) to err on the safer side rather than risk damnation (Whitman, p. 62).

Jurors carried this safer path doctrine with them (Whitman, p. 86). Any doubt, including unreasonable doubts, were used to acquit an accused (Morano, p. 511).

Morano argues that the prosecution developed the Reasonable Doubt Rule in 1770 (p. 517) to lower the standard of persuasion and get a conviction (p. 518) in the Boston Massacre (p. 518). Reasonable doubt would require jurors to have a reason for doubting the prosecution (Morano, p. 514). A reasonable doubt meant that something did not prove as much as the nature would permit (Morano, p. 517; Waldman, p. 306). It was designed to balance the evidentiary restrictions of the prosecution with the rights of the defendant (Morano, p. 515). As it stood with jurors acquitting on any doubts, the prosecution had to overcome the presumption of innocence and being doubted before a trial even began (Morano, p. 510).

While the Reasonable Doubt Rule is lower than any doubt, it still has a high standard of persuasion that jurists knew would hinder the administration of criminal justice (Whitman, pp. 76-77). Morano (p. 508) is correct when he says that reasonable doubt requires a reason to doubt, but jurors used this concept of reasonable doubt as a standard of persuasion (Waldman, p. 300) to require more evidence to convince themselves that they had reached suspicion in the degrees of moral certainty to prevent from being damned (Whitman, p. 139). Jurors often insist on proof of guilt to convict (Whitman, p. 147) to stay on the safer path (Whitman, p. 146), which allows villains to get away (Whitman, p. 148) because the safer path is the presumption of innocence (Whitman, pp. 74-75) that the prosecution must overcome (Morano, p. 510).

During the Reformation, the British placed full responsibility of guilt on the jury. They developed their own standard of persuasion (Waldman, p. 300) that rejected the notion that the law condemned people, not the judge (Whitman, p. 112). The English version was called moral rigorism.

Moral rigorism argued that jurors were each responsible for the verdicts they entered (Whitman, p. 128) because it advocated strict adherence to the Ten Commandments. This strict teaching prevented jurors from entering guilty verdicts out of fear of damnation (Whitman, p. 105). At the same time, jurors were charged with the guilt of not doing their civic duty of getting justice for victims (Whitman, p. 135).

To compel jurors to enter guilty verdicts, jurists created reasonable doubt (Whitman, p. 160). Convicting a person beyond a reasonable doubt reassured jurors that they were choosing the safer path and would not be damned (Whitman, p. 163).

The Reasonable Doubt Rule is not designed to find the truth, but reassure jurors that they entered the correct verdict (Whitman, p. 163) based on subjective, religious standards (Whitman, p. 160). Because the Reasonable Doubt Rule does not prove guilt, a new standard of proof should be used.

#metoo #timesup #epstein #rkelly #sexualassault #burdenofproof #beyondareasonabledoubt #equalunderthelaw #separationofchurchandstate #constitution

After the Protestant Reformation, the British developed their own standards of persuasion, including the doctrine of reasonable doubt.




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