The Standard of Proof in Juvenile Proceedings: Gault Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

Some of those who have studied the question of the appropriate standard of proof in juvenile proceedings have determined that the “preponderance of the evidence” standard-the standard applied in civil cases-is sufficient, and that the criminal standard should not be applied in such cases. Others have suggested that the standard-of proof question is unimportant since the particular standard which is required will seldom, if ever, make a difference to the outcome of a case. The first of these views is the subject to which the bulk of this Article is addressed; the second can be rebutted by the observation that in at least two recent cases youths were found to be delinquent by judges who specifically stated that their conclusions would have been different if the higher standard had been applicable.