Ca. Litig. Rev. 2020

Evidence – Trial Court Burdens of Proof

By Justice Brian M. Hoffstadt

Calibrating the Scales of Justice

We are all familiar with the iconic depiction of Lady Justice—her eyes blindfolded, one arm aloft and bearing scales, the other at her side holding a sword. We also all know that her blindfold symbolizes impartiality; her scales, the weighing of evidence; and her sword, the swift and final execution of her judgment.

But how, exactly, are Lady Justice’s scales calibrated? Who decides—and how do they decide—which way the scales tip, and by how much they tip, when the trier of fact is weighing the evidence?

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