Alan Dershowitz on Casey Anthony and the Burden of Proof

In today’s Wall Street Journal, attorney and Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz explains the difference between a criminal investigation and a criminal trial, and why the proper outcome of a trial is not justice for the wronged, but an answer to one simple question — does the evidence prove that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt? I couldn’t possibly improve on Professor Dershowitz’s explanation: read it for yourself.

I agree with those who compare this case to that of O.J. Simpson. I agree that, in both cases, a murderer was probably set free. But I do NOT agree with those who are willing to throw the presumption of innocence, and the standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, under the bus just to ensure that one or two guilty people don’t get away with their crimes, even in cases like these. We don’t live in a perfect world, and it is not always possible to know with sufficient certainty who is guilty when a crime is committed. If we do not want to put even more innocent people in jail than we already do, we must not lower the standard of proof required for criminal conviction in American courts.

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