The Senate confirmation hearings for Judge Brett Kavanaugh where Christine Ford will speak is not a trial. The basic precepts of jurisprudence remain valid, except there are no ‘rules’ per se. The hearings are political theater, not one of law. Ford does not have a “burden of proof.” Not a high one. Not a low one. Maybe someone believes she should, but that doesn’t make it so.
Ford only needs to come forward with her testimony sufficient to raise a question of sufficient concern about impacting the Committee’s decision. To the limit it can be called a ‘burden’ at all is to make the Senators think.
Ford can meet this burden without anyone else testifying.
Is Brett Kavanaugh entitled to the benefit of the doubt? Is he to be presumed innocent until proven guilty?
Probably not. The presumption of innocent has to do with the burden of proof the state must meet to convict someone of a crime. It often is a heavy burden for the state to meet. If the prosecutor can’t prove someone is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, the individual is legally not guilty. Everyone can be sure the person did it and the defendant may not have even argued the case. It doesn’t matter. As the rule of law says, if the jury is not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt, they have to acquit.
The state’s bears the burden for a reason. The state, with practically unlimited resources, goes against the defendant who has limited — if any — resources. Sometimes the accused can’t even afford a lawyer. The coercive power of the state was feared by America’s Founding Fathers as the state is the one entity empowered, legally, to take away our rights.
Kavanaugh doesn’t face the loss of these rights if the Senators suspect he sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford. Rather, Kavanaugh will receive one of the greatest honors any citizen can get: being elevated to the highest court in the land. He does not have a ‘right’ to be confirmed.
Here’s where Kavanaugh’s defenders have it wrong. Kavanaugh doesn’t have a right to be confirmed. If they Senate doesn’t hand him the nomination, he, Kavanaugh, doesn’t lose anything he already has. He will go back to his life of privilege bestowed on him by his background.
Where did the misunderstanding come from? Mainly persons who don’t know what they don’t know. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about “innocent until proven guilty.”
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 11, says: “Everyone charged with a penal offense has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a trial at which they have had all the rights necessary for their defense.”.
We all know that in criminal law, every individual is presumed innocent, until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In the context of a criminal trial, this means the starting point for the judge / jury is that the accused person is innocent.
In America, an individual is considered innocent until proven guilty. The 14th amendment to the US Constitution guarantees to every person, aliens included, “equal protection.”
The presumption of innocence is an important part of our legal system. Basically it means that if you are accused of a crime, you don’t have to prove you are innocent. It is the job of the prosecutor to prove you are guilty.
“Being boosted to the Supreme Court is more than just about Kavanaugh,” says Nicholas Wooldridge, a Las Vegas Criminal Defense attorney. “The continuing legitimacy of the nation’s legal system is at stake. Putting someone on the court where there is even a credible question as to appropriateness undermines that legitimacy.”
In considering the allegations, the Senate not only must consider what is “fair” to Kavanaugh, the Senate must consider if its action protects the respect Americans have for the rule of law.
At the end of the day, this political war and neither side will defect unless it’s political suicide to do otherwise.