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No One but You: Jurors and the Internal Standard of Reasonable Doubt

No One but You: Jurors and the Internal Standard of Reasonable Doubt

Chapter:
(p.61) Three No One but You: Jurors and the Internal Standard of Reasonable Doubt
Source:
Radical Enfranchisement in the Jury Room and Public Life
Author(s):
Sonali Chakravarti
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226654324.003.0004

As the standard for the extremely high burden of proof on the state necessary for a guilty verdict, the phrase “beyond a reasonable doubt” is the quintessential legal convention that jurors may have heard about before entering the courtroom and are mandated to reckon with during deliberation. What is less familiar is a connection that could be made between the juror’s role in interpreting the standard and the tools that the process gives them for an assessment of their own decision making (such as through an interrogation of implicit bias, the demands of the presumption of innocence, and the seductions of narrative closure). Applying the ideals of reasonable doubt to the perceptions of jurors themselves in relation to both the factual and moral questions embedded in the charge is one way to highlight how critical the task of self-assessment is, equal to external engagement with the evidence.

Keywords:   reasonable doubt, jury, implicit bias, self-examination, juror, evidence

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