Damian M. was charged with the murder of his wife, Sharon. After a lengthy trial in criminal court, he was acquitted by a jury of his wife’s murder. Sharon’s parents were convinced that Damian killed their daughter, and so they then brought a civil case against Damian for the wrongful death of their daughter. The jury in the civil case determined that Damian was responsible for the death of Sharon.
As a training exercise, you are asked to provide an analysis of how both a civil and criminal case could be brought against Damian for the death of his wife. Discuss possible explanations for the different outcomes in the cases – that one jury found that he had killed Sharon and the other did not. In your discussion, you need to address the following issues:
– Explain the differences between civil and criminal law, such as standard of proof, who brings the case, and the basic possible punishments/repercussions for the defendant who loses the case.
– How might the different standards of proof contribute to different outcomes (finding that Damian did or didn’t commit kill Sharon) in the cases?