Preponderance of the Evidence is actually a subjective term

Discussion in 'Law and Justice System' started by deanrd, Aug 24, 2018.

  1. deanrd
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    deanrd Gold Member

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    preponderance of the evidence

    n. the greater weight of the evidence required in a civil (non-criminal) lawsuit for the trier of fact (jury or judge without a jury) to decide in favor of one side or the other. This preponderance is based on the more convincing evidence and its probable truth or accuracy, and not on the amount of evidence.

    Thus, one clearly knowledgeable witness may provide a preponderance of evidence over a dozen witnesses with hazy testimony, or a signed agreement with definite terms may outweigh opinions or speculation about what the parties intended.

    Preponderance of the evidence is required in a civil case and is contrasted with "beyond a reasonable doubt," which is the more severe test of evidence required to convict in a criminal trial. No matter what the definition stated in various legal opinions, the meaning is somewhat subjective.

    Legal Dictionary - Law.com

    Paul Manafort, Donald Trump's former campaign manager, provided a really good example of how criminal law works. Especially when it comes to sentencing.

    Manafort was convicted of 8 felonies out of a possible 18 charges. The jury foreman wrote the number of jurors and how they voted next to every charge. 8 charges were "G" 12 to zero. 10 charges were "G" 11 to 1. While not illegal, this is against the rules. The foreman was sending a message to the judge. But it didn't matter in the long run.

    The judge will decide the sentence. He/she can look to the prosecutor for counsel, they can even take the unusual step of asking the jury for a recommendation, even though that is very irregular and highly unlikely.

    So with guilty in 8 counts and deadlocked in the other 10, the prosecutor could go through another trial on the 10 deadlocked charges. So why wouldn't the prosecutor do that? Generally two reasons. One, the cost to the taxpayer. Two, the sentencing.

    Get this, even though there are 8 guilty and 10 deadlocked, the judge is not obligated to hand down the sentence on just those 8 counts. The judge can actually add in all the time from those 10 deadlocked counts. Because Manafort was found guilty for one the judge could see a "Preponderance of the Evidence" from the deadlocked 10. In fact, if the count was 1 to 17 deadlocked, the defendant could be sentenced on all 18 charges, even though that would be highly unlikely.

    My guess is there will only be a retrial if the judge only gives Manafort a slap on the wrist.

    Also, the sentence will be handed out next Tuesday. We will find out then.

    And that trial is completely different. Those charges are for obstruction of justice, failing to register as a foreign agent and conspiracy to launder money with indicted co conspirator, the Russian Ambassador.

    So why is preponderance of the evidence so important? Because it will be featured in two upcoming trials.

    One, for Republican Chris Collins and his scheme to defraud stock holders.

    Two, for Republican Duncan Hunter, for a wild quarter of a million dollar spending spree.

    Collins passed on information, but no one actually saw him do it, even though he was taped doing it from the White House lawn. It requires a preponderance of the evidence.

    Hunter is throwing his wife under the bus, but he took a $14,000.00 vacation to Italy with his family and tried to cover it with a meeting he tried to set up with the Navy but they refused. Once again, this will be a preponderance of the evidence.

    Enough evidence that takes the jury beyond a reasonable doubt.

    And that's the definition of and examples of preponderance of the evidence.
     

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