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In re Winship

Significance, Due Process Requires Proof Beyond A Reasonable Doubt, Creating Rights, Further Readings


Samuel Winship


State of New York

Appellant's Claim

That his conviction of a crime in a juvenile delinquency proceeding was unconstitutional because the state did not prove that he committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt

Chief Lawyer for Appellant

Rena K. Uviller

Chief Lawyer for Appellee

Stanley Buchsbaum

Justices for the Court

Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennan, Jr., (writing for the Court), William O. Douglas, John Marshall Harlan II, Thurgood Marshall, Byron R. White

Justices Dissenting

Hugo Lafayette Black, Warren E. Burger, Potter Stewart


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

31 March 1970


That the criminal law standard requiring proof of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt is a constitutional requirement, and it applies equally to adults and juveniles.


The Court's decision in Winship was important in two respects. First, it reaffirmed the Court's earlier decision in Gault that juveniles accused of a crime are entitled to the same constitutional protections provided to adults accused of a crime. Second, it clarified that whether in the state or federal courts, a criminal defendant cannot be convicted unless the prosecution proves his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Related Cases

  • Davis v. United States, 160 U.S. 469 (1895).
  • In re Gault, 387 U.S. 1 (1967).
  • Cupp v. Naughten, 414 U.S. 141 (1973).
  • Mullaney v. Wilbur, 421 U.S. 684 (1975).
  • Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307 (1979).

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1963 to 1972