In the context of criminal law, what is meant by the phrase, "Hunches are never enough"?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In the context of criminal law, hunches are not enough because more concrete proof is needed in order to do things like securing a warrant or gaining a conviction.

When police are investigating a crime, it is not sufficient for them to have hunches.  They cannot get a warrant because they have a hunch they would find evidence of illegal activity in a given house.  Instead, they need to have probable cause that can be examined objectively by a judge.

When a case is brought to trial, it is not enough to have a hunch about the defendant's guilt.  The prosecution must have enough evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Thus, in the context of criminal law, this phrase means that objective evidence is needed and that hunches are not sufficient.

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