In re Winship

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In re Winship
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Argued January 20, 1970
Decided March 31, 1970
Full case name In the Matter of Samuel Winship, Appellant
Citations 397 U.S. 358 (more)
90 S. Ct. 1068; 25 L. Ed. 2d 368; 51 O.O.2d 323
Prior history 91 N.Y.S.2d 1005 (App. Div. 1968), aff'd, 247 N.E.2d. 253 (N.Y. 1969).
The Constitution's Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clause requires that every element of a criminal offense be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, instead of the preponderance of the evidence standard used heretofore in juvenile court.
Court membership
Case opinions
Majority Brennan, joined by Douglas, Harlan, White, Marshall
Concurrence Harlan
Dissent Burger, joined by Stewart
Dissent Black
Laws applied
U.S. Const. amend. XIV

In re Winship, 397 U.S. 358 (1970), was a United States Supreme Court decision that held that when a juvenile is charged with an act that would be a crime if committed by an adult, every element of the offense must be proved beyond reasonable doubt, not preponderance of the evidence.[1] The case has come to stand for a broader proposition, however: in a criminal prosecution, every essential element of the offense must be proved beyond reasonable doubt. See, e.g., Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466, 477 (2000); Sullivan v. Louisiana, 508 U.S. 275, 278 (1993).[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Varat, J.D. et al. Constitutional Law Cases and Materials, Concise Thirteenth Edition. Foundation Press, New York, NY: 2009, p. 356
  2. ^ Varat, p. 357