Searching for Truth but Missing the Point


  • Keith D. Kilback
  • Michael D. Tochor



This article explores the shift from the traditional conceptualization of a criminal trial as an independent testing of facts to the standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, to a more recent view of the trial as a search for the truth. perception The authors contend that the "search for truth " approach imports two major flaws into the judicial process. First, it is impossible for a trier off act to actually know the truth; and second, because the concept has never been judicially defined, its use allows courts to justify whatever policy decision is being made. The authors conclude that the traditional view remains the better view, because the fundamental point of a criminal trial is not to determine what is true, but rather to determine whether the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.