phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum

Reasonable doubt; moral certainty

Posted by ESC on September 29, 2000

In Reply to: Re: Please explain "BEYOND DOUBT" posted by Bob on September 29, 2000

: : the subject is my question......
: : dats all! i'm so confused!!!
: : thanx for your help!

: When one is "beyond doubt" or an issue has been settled "beyond doubt," it means that certainty has been established to such a degree that there can be no question whatsoever of the truth. On almost every question, the only people who claim to be 100% beyond doubt are gods, egotists, and fanatics. Mature people generally allow for the possibility, however slim, that what they Know for Certain may be disproved.

I found this information in my handy dandy "Barron's Dictionary of Legal Terms" by Steven H. Gifis (Third edition, Barron's Educational Series, New York):

REASONABLE DOUBT -- ".refers to the degree of certainty required of a juror before he or she can make a legally valid determination of the guilt of a criminal defendant.The term doesn't require that the evidence be so clear that no possibility of error exists; it means that the evidence must be so conclusive that all reasonable doubts are removed from the mind of the ordinary person. See also moral certainty."

"MORAL CERTAINTY -- certainty beyond a reasonable doubt; a conviction based on persuasive reasons and excluding doubts that a contrary conclusion can exit. A juror is said to be morally certain of a fact when he or she would act in reliance upon its truth in matters of greatest importance to himself or herself."

There's another entry that I find interesting. "REASONABLE MAN (OR PERSON) -- a phrase used to denote a hypothetical person who exercises qualities of attention, knowledge, intelligence and judgment that society requires of its members for the protection of their own interests and the interests of others."

In other words, a person who has the sense God gave gravel (or a goose).