Although the Constitution does not mention burden of proof, certain principles are widely accepted as having constitutional status. The first and most significant of these is the rule that in a criminal case the government must prove its case ‘‘beyond a REASONABLE DOUBT.’’ This is the universal COMMON LAW rule, and was said by the Supreme Court in IN RE WINSHIP (1970) to be an element of DUE PROCESS. This standard is commonly contrasted with proof ‘‘by a preponderance of the evidence’’ or ‘‘by clear and convincing evidence.’’ The standard of proof is in practice not easily susceptible to further clarification or elaboration.
Publication Information & Recommended Citation
White, James Boyd. "Burden of Proof." In Encyclopedia of the American Constitution, edited by L. W. Levy and K. L. Karst. New York: Macmillan, 1986.