Reasonable doubt

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Reasonable doubt is the common standard for acquittal in criminal trials in the democratic countries of the Free World. It places the burden of proof on the accuser, rather than on the defendant.

An accused person is entitled to acquittal if, in the minds of the jury, his or her guilt has not been proved beyond a reasonable doubt; that state of minds of jurors in which they cannot say they feel an abiding conviction as to the truth of the charge.

In most countries in the world, even in modern times, an accusation has been sufficient to justify arrest, imprisonment, and even punishment. Even some nominally democratic countries, such as postwar Japan, consider guilt something that the accused must disprove.

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