Blackstone’s Ratio


“All presumptive evidence of felony should be admitted cautiously; for the law holds it better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent party suffer”

              Commentaries on the Laws of England, Book IV, Chapter 27 (1760).


"it is better 100 guilty Persons should escape than that one innocent Person should suffer"

              Benjamin Franklin, Letter to Vaughn, 1785


“It is more important that innocence should be protected, than it is, that guilt be punished; for guilt and crimes are so frequent in this world, that all of them cannot be punished.... when innocence itself, is brought to the bar and condemned, especially to die, the subject will exclaim, 'it is immaterial to me whether I behave well or ill, for virtue itself is no security.' And if such a sentiment as this were to take hold in the mind of the subject that would be the end of all security whatsoever.”

              John Adams, 1770



"it is better that ten innocent men suffer than one guilty man escape."

              Otto von Bismarck, late 19th century.


“I’m more concerned with bad guys who got out and released than I am with a few that, in fact, were innocent.”

              Dick Cheney, 2014