A Fundamental principal in our justice system that an individual charged criminally is presumed innocent until such time as the State Attorney’s office proves their guilt beyond and to the exclusion of any and all reasonable doubt. This means that each and every element of the specific crime be proven to this degree. If a prosecutor fails to meet this burden even to just one element of any particular crime, it will render a defendant not guilty of the charge. Criminal trials are different than civil trials in that in a civil trial the parties come to court equally. Civil matters are disputes about money or property and each side is required to present evidence which supports their case and the party with the more creditable evidence will obtain the more favorable verdict at the conclusion of the case. In contrast, criminal trials involve something much more precious, one’s liberty. Consequently, prosecutors are charged with the great burden of having to prove any criminal case by far more than just the greater weight of the evidence.
In criminal cases the prosecution and the criminal attorneys never come to the table equally. In contrast, the prosecution has the deck stacked against them. Criminal defendants are in no way obligated to prove their defense in any circumstances and are not required to produce one single bit of evidence on their behalf. The presumption of innocence also carries with it a defendant’s right to remain silent throughout the entire course of the criminal proceedings. As a result, a tactical defense attorney may devote significant efforts toward excluding state evidence in an effort to dilute the prosecution’s case in chief to the point of being ineffective in securing a conviction.
The prosecutor is charged with the heaviest burden of proof. It is entirely improper for the prosecutor to shift this burden to the defendant. A State Attorney cannot even so much as imply that the defendant has the burden to produce anything. Any such statement that indicates to a jury that an accused has the burden of proof on any aspect of the case will certainly cause a mistrial.
The William Moore Law Firm is a Fort Lauderdale criminal defense law firm offering decades of experienced legal representation and knowledge that is aggressive and skilled in the art of criminal defense. William Moore Criminal Defense for immediate legal answers and available representation in Broward County.