As a follow-up to your recent articles on the Contador controversy, I have to ask what burden of proof is required to substantiate doping claims and lead to a suspension?
That question is an interesting one when it comes to doping cases, but let’s start with a minor distinction. “Burden of proof,” roughly means who has to present a case and “standard of evidence” is the measure used to determine how strong of a case that has to be.
In keeping with the legal profession’s preference for Latin, we can begin the discussion with the phrase “semper necessitas probandi incumbit ei qui agit,” which basically means if you level a charge be prepared to prove it. The burden of proof initially rests on the charging party.
But just what and how much do they actually need to “prove?” By what standard is their evidence judged? There is the old non-judicial – and nearly impossible to meet – standard of “beyond a shadow of a doubt,” but you won’t find that applied in any court. If you think of the old “scales of justice” model, everything would be on the prosecution’s side of the scale. The burden would be so onerous that even DNA evidence wouldn’t pass, because a one-in-four-billion chance that the profile would belong to someone else might qualify as that “shadow.”
Instead, we apply a series of standards of evidence, depending on the case at issue.
There’s proof and then there’s proof
The classic standard of evidence with which we are most familiar is the “beyond a reasonable doubt” applied in criminal cases in the U.S. and several other – but by no means all – established democracies. It is regarded as the highest burden of proof one side must meet in presenting a case.
In order to convict a defendant in criminal trials in the U.S., you need to present sufficient evidence so that there exists “no reasonable doubt in the mind of a reasonable person that the defendant is guilty.”
In most civil cases, the standard is much, much lower. The finder of fact – a
To read the whole story, visit here: http://velonews.competitor.com/2010/10/news/the-explainer-standards-of-evidence-and-shifting-burdens-of-proof_147891
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