St Louis, MO asked in Civil Rights for Missouri

Q: How is it that someonecan sue for civil rights when the other party was found NOT GUILTY in a criminal trial?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Kenneth J. Geniuk
Kenneth J. Geniuk
  • Civil Rights Lawyer
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Licensed in Missouri

A: It has to do with the burden of proof. In a criminal trial, the prosecutor must prove guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt" which is the highest burden of proof in any court case. So when someone is found "not guilty" in a criminal proceeding, it does not mean that the defendant was found to be innocent. Rater, it just means that that the prosecutor did not meet their burden of provin every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Conversely, in a civil trial the burden of proof is usually "more likely than not" or a preponderance of the evidence" which is a much lower burden of proof. So wile te evidence presented to a jury may not be enough to convict a person of a crime (i.e., beyond a reasonable doubt) the same evidence may be more than sufficient to find civil liability (i.e., more likely than not the person did wat tey are accused of).

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