The courtroom definition of guilt is whatever a judge or jury says it is- as long as it’s proven “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
“Guilt” according to the dictionary is “the fact of having committed a breach of conduct especially violating law and involving a penalty.”
The key distinction from the courtroom version being the removal of the word “fact” and replacing with proof of the matter only “beyond a reasonable doubt”- something, quite obviously, less than having proven an actual fact.
I once represented a kid who did dumb kid stuff. I still represent kids who do dumb kid stuff, but this kid was different. He did some really dumb kid stuff. Felony dumb. Like too many of these dumb-kid felony stories, this one involved a kid from a decent home in a decent neighborhood. He’d clearly watched Scarface after drinking one too many Red Bulls and thought that the only way out of the “mean” suburbs was his balls and his word.
My client’s name isn’t important so we’ll call him C.H. He was minding his own business in Pensacola, Florida when he was arrested. The police claim he’d mugged several people in town over the previous week.
One of the purported victims was peculiar. He wasn’t peculiar by virtue of his long hair or beard. Nor was he peculiar in that he was wandering the dark streets alone at night with no real destination in mind.