At the end of a criminal trial, a finding by a judge or jury that a defendant is not guilty. An acquittal signifies that a prosecutor failed to prove his or her case beyond a reasonable doubt, not that a defendant is innocent. Thus, a person may be acquitted of a crime but found civilly liable in a civil case regarding that same crime, e.g. O.J. Simpson, because civil cases have a lower burden of proof than criminal cases.
Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary
A decision by a judge or jury that a defendant in a criminal case is not guilty of a crime. An acquittal is not a finding of innocence; it is simply a conclusion that the prosecution has not proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.
August 19, 2010, 5:10 pm