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DOUBT Definition & Legal Meaning

Definition & Citations:

Uncertainty of mind; the absence of a settled opinion or conviction; theattitude of mind towards the acceptance of or belief in a proposition, theory, orstatement, in which the judgment is not at rest but inclines alternately to either side.Rowe v. Baber, 93 Ala. 422, 8 South. 865; Smith v. Railway Co., 143 Mo. 33, 44 S. W.718; West Jersey Traction Co. v. Camden Horse R. Co., 52 N. J. Eq. 452, 29 Atl. 333.Reasonable doubt. This is a term often used, probably pretty well understood, butnot easily defined. It does not mean a mere possible doubt, because everything relatingto human affairs, and depending on moral evidence, is open to some possible orimaginary doubt. It is that state of the case which, after the entire comparison andconsideration of all the evidence, leaves the minds of jurors in that condition that theycannot say they feel an abiding conviction to a moral certainty of the truth of thecharge. Donnelly v. State. 26 N. J. Law, 601, 615. A reasonable doubt is deemed to exist,within the rule that the jury should not convict unless satisfied beyond a reasonabledoubt, when the evidence is not sufficient to satisfy the judgment of the truth of aproposition with such certainty that a prudent man would feel safe in acting upon it inhis own important affairs. Arnold v. State, 23 Ind. 170. The burden of proof is upon theprosecutor. All the presumptions of law independent of evidence are in favor ofinnocence; and every person is presumed to be innocent until he is proved guilty. Ifupon such proof there is reasonable doubt remaining, the accused is entitled to thebenefit of it by an acquittal; for it is not sufficient to establish a probability, though astrong one, arising from the doctrine of chances, that the fact charged is more likely tobe true than the contrary, but the evidence must establish the truth of the fact to a reasonableand moral certainty,


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