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Why Do Prosecutors Hate Reasonable Doubt?

Why do prosecutors hate reasonable doubt? I recently delivered a closing argument in which I attempted to convince a jury that reasonable doubt wasn't something we should simply pay lip service to, but rather something that should be of great value to all of us. The prosecutor objected several times during the argument, and the judge even sustained some of the objections!

It's a good thing the jury didn't convict my client. The incessant objections to my argument about reasonable doubt were, in my opinion, prosecutorial misconduct, an obvious attempt to hamper my argument and distract the jury from its substance - the undying principal of reasonable doubt and the reasons it is important to all of us. I am confident that a court of appeal, had my client been convicted, would have had some stern words to say about the court sustaining some of these frivolous objections.

Of course I'm just a trial lawyer and not the judge, and the rulings of the court are considered the correct rulings unless and until a court of appeal overrules them. I have to respectfully accept them and move on. But why did the prosecutor object when I attempted to explain to the jurors how important reasonable doubt should be to each of them, not just for my client's sake, but for the sake of us all?

Prosecutors have all of the power. They have the police to do their bidding. They have a crime lab. They have millions of dollars in their budget. They have a jury pool of people who, most of the time, want to convict. Most people think that if the police arrest someone, and if the prosecutor files charges, the person must be guilty of something. This kind of predisposition among jurors is common, and prosecutors benefit from it in nearly every case.

Why, then, with such advantages, do the prosecutors hate reasonable doubt so much? The reason is simple. They think the're right all the time, and they always want to win. A jury is simply an obstacle to justice, in the mind of a prosecutor. But consider this - if the prosecutors are always right, why do we even need defense attorneys or juries or judges at all?

The founding fathers knew that prosecutors have all the power, and that proving innocence is nearly impossible for anyone, no matter how innocent he may be. So they protected us with reasonable doubt. The constitution requires the prosecution to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt to protect citizens from having their liberty unjustly taken from them.

When a jury allows a prosecutor to have his way even when there is a reasonable doubt, the legal protections that secure our liberty and shield us from unjust prosecutions are slowly whittled away until they're no longer there. A juror may be tempted to overlook or ignore reasonable doubt because the crime charged is serious, or because the defendant is a stranger who may even look guilty. But when reasonable doubt is taken from anyone, it's taken away from us all.

The constitution requires us to trust the people - a jury - to hold the prosecutor accountable. And that's why prosecutors hate reasonable doubt.

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