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United States v. Guest

Burden Of Proof

Burden of proof is the duty of a party to prove an asserted fact. Two concepts embody the burden of proof: the burden of persuasion and the burden of going forward. The latter is also called production burden or burden of evidence.

The burden of persuasion requires the plaintiff or prosecutor to convince the jury, or the judge in non-jury trials, of all the pertinent facts in the case. The degree of proof varies depending on whether the case is a civil or criminal proceeding. In civil cases, the burden must be met by a preponderance of the evidence. Preponderance means the facts are merely more convincing or more probable to the judge or jury than the opposing evidence. Criminal cases require the persuasion burden to be proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The evidence must be so conclusive that it erases all reasonable doubts. The burden of persuasion is always the responsibility of the prosecution.

The burden of going forward requires either party to prove wrong any evidence that damages their position. To avoid early dismissal by the judge, the prosecution's proof of evidence must prevail. The burden of going forward shifts back and forth from prosecution to defense during the course of a trial.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1963 to 1972United States v. Guest - Significance, Intent To Interfere, The Right To Travel, Impact, Related Cases, Burden Of Proof