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Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

1.2-3 Constitutional Principles

Revised to September 23, 2013

Every defendant in a criminal case is presumed to be innocent and this presumption of innocence remains with the defendant throughout the trial unless and until (he/she) is proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The burden is on the state to prove the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and that burden of proof never shifts throughout the trial. Unless you find at the conclusion of all the evidence that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant has committed every element of an offense, you must find (him/her) not guilty of that offense. On the other hand, if you are satisfied that the evidence establishes the guilt of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt, you should not hesitate to find (him/her) guilty.

[<Include only after discussion with and agreement by defense counsel.> The defendant may or may not testify in this case. An accused person has the option to testify or not to testify at the trial. (He/she) is under no obligation to testify. (He/she) has a constitutional right not to testify. You must draw no unfavorable inferences from the defendant's choice not to testify.]



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