(A) This refers to a party’s level of proof needed to convince a judge or jury that the party’s facts alleged are true and their position meritorious. Civil trials require that a plaintiff prove a case by a preponderance of the evidence that it is more likely than not that the plaintiff’s version of the truth is the correct one. Criminal cases require a much higher level of proof due to a person’s life and liberty being at stake and a judge or jury must be convinced of a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. (B) This phrase is employed to signify the duty of proving the facts in dispute on an issue raised between the parties in a cause. 2. The burden of proof always lies on the party who takes the affirmative in pleading. 3. In criminal cases, as every man is presumed to be innocent until the contrary is proved, the burden of proof rests on the prosecutor, unless a different provision is expressly made by statute. 12 Wheat. See Onus probandi. In general, the party that is attempting to assert that something is true bears the burden of proving that fact. The most common burdens of proof include the following: (i) Beyond Reasonable Doubt: This is the standard for which the prosecution must meet in criminal proceedings, especially before a defendant’s life and liberty are impeded. It is not a standard of absolute belief and no doubt. There can be some small amount of doubt but sufficiently small that a reasonable person would have virtually no doubt that the fact occurred. Some refer to this standard as 99.9% proof or fully satisfied or entirely convinced. (ii) Clear and Convincing Evidence: This is one notch below the criminal beyond reasonable doubt standard and used in both criminal and civil cases. It is described as sufficient proof to assert that something is substantially more likely to be true than not to be true. One could consider this to be providing more confidence than merely a 51% to 49% chance that the fact asserted is true. (iii) Preponderance of the Evidence: This standard, most frequently used in civil cases, is also known as the balancing test. The standard of proof is merely that one side of the scale dips lower than the other side. It is the proposition that something is more likely to be true than not to be true a 51% to 49% chance that the plaintiff or defendant’s version of the truth is the one more likely to have happened than not to have happened.
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