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    The Origins of Reasonable Doubt: Theological Roots of the Criminal Trial (Yale Law Library Series in Legal History) (Hardback) By (author) James Q. Whitman

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    DescriptionTo be convicted of a crime in the United States, a person must be proven guilty 'beyond a reasonable doubt'. But what is reasonable doubt? Even sophisticated legal experts find this fundamental doctrine difficult to explain. In this accessible book, James Whitman digs deep into the history of the law and discovers that we have lost sight of the original purpose of reasonable doubt. It was not originally a legal rule at all, he shows, but a theological one. The rule as we understand it today is intended to protect the accused. But Whitman traces its history back through centuries of Christian theology and common-law history to reveal that the original concern was to protect the souls of jurors. In Christian tradition, a person who experienced doubt yet convicted an innocent defendant was himself guilty of a mortal sin. Jurors fearful for their own souls were reassured that they were safe, as long as their doubts were not 'reasonable'. Today, the old rule of reasonable doubt survives, but it has been turned to different purposes. The result is confusion for jurors, and a serious moral challenge for our system of justice.

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  • Full bibliographic data for The Origins of Reasonable Doubt

    The Origins of Reasonable Doubt
    Theological Roots of the Criminal Trial
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) James Q. Whitman
    Physical properties
    Format: Hardback
    Number of pages: 288
    Width: 162 mm
    Height: 238 mm
    Thickness: 28 mm
    Weight: 558 g
    ISBN 13: 9780300116007
    ISBN 10: 0300116004

    B&T Book Type: NF
    BIC E4L: LAW
    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: S5.0
    B&T Modifier: Region of Publication: 01
    B&T Modifier: Academic Level: 05
    BISAC V2.8: LAW026000
    BIC subject category V2: LNF
    Ingram Subject Code: LE
    Libri: I-LE
    BISAC V2.8: HIS010000
    B&T General Subject: 490
    B&T Approval Code: A14500000
    Warengruppen-Systematik des deutschen Buchhandels: 17720
    B&T Merchandise Category: UP
    BIC subject category V2: LAF
    B&T Approval Code: A39500000, A39090000
    DC22: 345.001, 345.4/06
    LC subject heading: , , ,
    BISAC V2.8: LAW060000
    DC22: 345.406
    BISAC region code:
    LC classification: KJC9601 .W48 2008
    LC subject heading: , ,
    Thema V1.0: LNF, LAF
    Illustrations note
    8 b&w illustrations
    Yale University Press
    Imprint name
    Yale University Press
    Publication date
    01 February 2008
    Publication City/Country
    New Haven
    Author Information
    James Q. Whitman is Ford Foundation Professor of Comparative and Foreign Law, Yale University, and author of the award-winning book, Harsh Justice.
    Review quote
    "Whitman's work on reasonable doubt is of immense importance both to the academic and to the practical realm."--M. Cathleen Kaveny, University of Notre Dame Law School--M. Cathleen Kaveny