Recent studies conclude that errors occur in the American capital punishment system with such frequency that it is entirely foreseeable that, if continued unaltered, numerous innocent persons will be executed. Assuming that this is unacceptable but that America will wish to continue to utilize the death penalty in its justice system, the authors believe that society has a duty to try to reduce the frequency of such errors. The authors propose that the requisite burden of proof in the penalty phase of a capital trial should be raised from beyond a reasonable doubt to beyond all possible doubt. The authors discuss the meaning of the beyond all possible doubt standard, explain how it may be included in a jury's capital deliberation, and explore the possible effects of its integration. The authors conclude that increasing the standard of proof is a valuable measure to reduce error in the American capital punishment system.
Leonard B. Sand & Danielle L. Rose,
Proof Beyond All Possible Doubt: Is there a Need for Higher Burden of Proof When the Sentence May Be Death?,
Chi.-Kent L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.kentlaw.iit.edu/cklawreview/vol78/iss3/16