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beyond a reasonable doubt

adj. part of jury instructions in all criminal trials, in which the jurors are told that they can only find the defendant guilty if they are convinced "beyond a reason- able doubt" of his or her guilt. Sometimes referred to as "to a moral certainty," the phrase is fraught with uncertainty as to meaning, but try: "you better be damned sure." By comparison it is meant to be a tougher standard than "preponderance of the evidence," used as a test to give judgment to a plaintiff in a civil (non-criminal) case.

See also: conviction  moral certainty  reasonable doubt 

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The People's Law Dictionary by Gerald and Kathleen Hill Publisher Fine Communications

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