preponderance of the evidence. The greater weight of the evidence, not necessarily established by the greater number of witnesses testifying to a fact but by evidence that has the most convincing force; superior evidentiary weight that, though not sufficient to free the mind wholly from all reasonable doubt, is still sufficient to incline a fair and impartial mind to one side of the issue rather than the other. • This is the burden of proof in most civil trials, in which the jury is instructed to find for the party that, on the whole, has the stronger evidence, however slight the edge may be. — Also termed preponderance of proof; balance of probability. See REASONABLE DOUBT. Cf. clear and convincing evidence under EVIDENCE. [Cases: Evidence 598. C.J.S. Evidence §§ 1310–1312, 1315.]

“Criminal convictions are so serious in their consequences that it is felt that an accused person should be freed, if there is any fair or reasonable doubt about his guilt, even though there seems to be considerable likelihood that he did commit the crime…. In civil cases, however, the consequence of losing a case, although serious enough in many cases, is not considered to be such as to require so stringent a rule. Accordingly the plaintiff is entitled to a verdict if he proves the case ‘by the preponderance of the evidence.’ In other words, he is entitled to a verdict even though there may be a reasonable doubt as to the liability of the accused, if the jury is satisfied nevertheless that the plaintiff has proved his case.” Charles Herman Kinnane, A First Book on Anglo-American Law 562 (2d ed. 1952).

[Blacks Law 8th]