What’s reasonable when it comes to doubt? Beyond a reasonable doubt is often described as “to moral certainty.” Some legal analysts approximate the numerical value of reasonable doubt to be a 95 percent certainty, while others assess it as a 98 or 99 percent certainty. The prosecution has the burden of proving—by means other than a defendant’s confession—that a crime has occurred and was committed by the defendant. The prosecution must also prove that defendant had the intent required for the act to be considered a crime. An act without criminal intent cannot be considered a crime. Additionally, a connection between the act and the intent must be established. A defendant cannot be convicted solely on the basis of his or her out-of-court confession.
True Stories of Law & Order series authors Kevin Dwyer and Juré Fiorillo weigh in on crime, justice, and their favorite television show.