A couple of weeks ago I was reading a question on Skeptics, Was Paul Manafort exonerated for the crimes he’s now charged with? So while the accepted answers attempted to wrangle out a legal definition for “exoneration” when there has been no trial, I found it puzzling no one noticed that the instructions given to a jury use the words “Guilty Beyond A Reasonable Doubt”. The problem with the word, exoneration, is best understood by looking for the word, exoneration, in the following tweet. If the jury gives a “Not Guilty” verdict because they thought he was “probably guilty”, does that mean Mr. Manafort is exonerated? I don’t think so. It means that they found him “Not Guilty”. Exoneration is a term best left to the TV pundits to define.
Manafort defense team had used a chart (kind of like this) to emphasize how high of a burden reasonable doubt is, so it makes sense that jurors might want some clarity from the judge. Defense told jurors to “hold the government to its burden.” pic.twitter.com/Y4XjEbmhYU
— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) August 16, 2018