The Opposite of Guilty

No, I don’t mean “innocent.”

Is there a word that describes the following situation?

If you are not supposed to do X, and you do it anyway, you are “guilty of X.”

If you are supposed to do Y, and you do it, you are “??? of Y.”

Guilty of not doing Y?

You are “responsible for” Y.

Negligent, perhaps.

I don’t think that’s the right word. If you are supposed to “pay your taxes”, and you do it, you aren’t negligent for “paying your taxes”.

“Compliant”, perhaps?


Al Capone was supposed to pay his taxes, but didn’t. He was sent to prison for tax evasion.

I guess the opposite of “guilty of” would be “in compliance with the duty to”.


Right. I’d say some form of “comply.”

*E.g., *

I’d go with “compliant,” or maybe “acquiescent.”

What I don’t get is : being found “Not Guilty” (ala OJ Simpson) in a criminal trial; then being found “responsible” in a civil trial. Does “responsible” mean “caused”? And does causality prove guilt?
I’ll leave it for the legal experts to explain the differences. I can’t seem to reconcile the two.

The difference stems from the fact that there are two separate burdens of proof. In the criminal trial, for OJ to be sent to jail, he would have had to have been found guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt”.

In the civil trial, for OJ to have been levied monetary damages, he would have had to have been found liable by “a preponderance of the evidence.”

The former suggests a 99% certainty (to the extent that percentages are relevant) of responsibility; the latter suggests a 51% certainty of responsibility. The much lower standard of proof is what distinguishes the two.

Bit of a nitpick, but the opposite of “Guilty” is “Not Guilty”.

In legal terms, the opposite of “guilty” is “not guilty” because YOU, the accused, are no longer capable of being “innocent”. Once you are accused, you are either guilty or not guilty. Innocent is a word for those not accused. I know it’s splitting hairs, but that’s the technical difference. - Jinx

I’m currently reading “Helter Skelter” for the first time, and Bugliosi has a footnote that says, in essence, that “Not Guilty” is not the same thing as “Innocent.” The jury can full well believe that the defendant did the crime, but they are forced to decide whether or not the People have proven that the defendant did it.

Being GQ, I’ll refrain from posting my opinion about the O.J. case.

This Law Dictionary doesn’t mention a technical difference between innocent and not guilty. I read the definitions as synonymical.

Am I missing something?


FWIW, in Scotland, a criminal trial may end in one of three verdicts: ‘guilty’, ‘not guilty’, or ‘not proven’:


You guys do understand that you’re hijacking this thread, right? Did you even read the OP?

Not an unusual occurrence by any means.

I’m sure people have read the OP. However, when there doesn’t seem to be a definitive answer to a particular question, they tend to chip in with comments on the periphery. Come to think of it, they do this even when there is a definitive answer.

Such is life.

If you are supposed to do Y, it’s implied you have a duty to do Y.

Thus, failure makes you derelict of Y. Various online dictionaries support me on this, though I don’t expect the phrasing is that common. More likely, I expect, is the longer and somewhat redundant “you are derelict in your duty to do Y”.

I’m well aware of this, but I still don’t understand the discrepancy.

Or rather, it seems like everyone thinks any trial is an attempt to determine “what did someone do” or “not do.” This difference between civil and criminal trials makes the question really different: “What should we do to this person?” It’s kind of like a parent who perceives some problem with a child and doesn’t really know what actually happened. So the parent makes a decision to discipline the child, regardless of what really happened.