So, when I went in for jury duty the other day, the attorneys were instructing the jury pool on the concept of "reasonable doubt". About how we would have to find the defendant guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt", but not "beyond all doubt".
The prosecuting attorney explained it this way: Okay, so your car's parked out in the court parking lot this morning. Are you pretty sure it's out there, right now? Yes? That's reasonable. You are sure, beyond a reasonable doubt, that your car is out there.
Now, theoretically, a tidal wave could have swept the car away, or aliens could have beamed it up, so you're not sure beyond ALL doubt that the car is there. You're just sure beyond a REASONABLE doubt that the car is there.
Then the defendant's attorney explained how there can be varying degrees of reasonable doubt. "Let's talk about your car", he said. "If I bet you ten bucks that your car was NOT out in the parking lot, would you take it? Sure! Easy money! Because you're sure, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the car is out there. But now let's say we made the same bet, whether or not your car was in the parking lot, but if you're wrong, I'm going to take out a gun and shoot you. Still sure beyond a reasonable doubt? Still want to take the bet?"
What he was trying to get at, I'm pretty sure, was that his client was not on trial for genocide or child abuse or something. She was on trial for drinking and driving, and thus there was a little more wiggle room, reasonable-doubt wise.
Interesting point, if kind of, well, indelicate, I guess.
And it did give me something to mull over.