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Definitions

 

B

Batson Challenge

  • The Batson challenge is a notable exception to peremptory challenges. The Supreme Court ruled in the case of Batson v. Kentucky (1986) that peremptory challenges cannot legally be used to remove jurors on the basis of their race alone. It expanded the list of impermissible reasons for a peremptory challenge to include sex in J.E.B. v. Alabama ex rel. T.B. (1994). Some states include other reasons as well.

    An objection made by opposing counsel to an attorney's use of a peremptory challenge on the basis that it was made for one of these impermissible reasons is called a Batson challenge. This is an area of ongoing litigation, not only to include additional impermissible reasons for peremptory challenges (such as on the basis of religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, etc.), but also to effectively enforce the currently existing prohibitions.

Bench Trial

  • A bench trial is one in which no jury is seated and all disputed matters are decided by the judge, including both legal findings and findings of fact.

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

Burden of Proof

  • The burden of proof is the duty of one party to prove their case in order to prevail.

    The opposing party not bearing the burden of proof does not necessarily need to prove an opposing case in order to prevail. They prevail any time the party bearing the burden of proof fails to meet or exceed the standard of proof.

    In a criminal trial in the United States, the prosecution bears the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed each and every offense for which they are charged. Criminal defendants in the United States enjoy the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Although they usually make their own cases during a trial to defend against the prosecution's case, defendants need not make any case at all in order to prevail if the prosecution's case fails to meet or exceed the standard of proof.

 

 

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