Some legal cites applying to Cameron Brown
- From: Dane <quack_deala@xxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sun, 13 Aug 2006 01:08:41 -0500
Houston v. Roe, 177 F.3d 901 (9th Cir. 1999) (holding California jury
instruction 8.81.15, addressing special circumstance lying in wait, does
not require defendant to prove a gap between lying in wait and the
killing and, thereby, does not unconstitutionally shift the
prosecution’s burden of proof), cert. denied, 528 U.S. 1159 (2000).
Sullivan v. Louisiana, 508 U.S. 275 (1993) (holding constitutionally
deficient reasonable doubt instruction–identical to one in Cage v.
Louisiana, 498 U.S. 39 (1990)–requires reversal; not subject to harmless
error analysis because, unlike an erroneous presumption instruction, a
deficient reasonable doubt instruction vitiates all of jury’s factual
California Penal Code
1096. A defendant in a criminal action is presumed to be innocent
until the contrary is proved, and in case of a reasonable doubt
whether his or her guilt is satisfactorily shown, he or she is
entitled to an acquittal, but the effect of this presumption is only
to place upon the state the burden of proving him or her guilty
beyond a reasonable doubt. Reasonable doubt is defined as follows:
"It is not a mere possible doubt; because everything relating to
human affairs is open to some possible or imaginary doubt. It is
that state of the case, which, after the entire comparison and
consideration of all the evidence, leaves the minds of jurors in that
condition that they cannot say they feel an abiding conviction of
the truth of the charge."
1096a. In charging a jury, the court may read to the jury Section
1096, and no further instruction on the subject of the presumption of
innocence or defining reasonable doubt need be given.
The US Supreme Court upheld this instruction in the case of Victor v.
The government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt every element of a
charged offense. In re Winship, 397 U.S. 358 (1970). Although this
standard is an ancient and honored aspect of our criminal justice
system, it defies easy explication. In these cases, we consider the
constitutionality of two attempts to define "reasonable doubt."
The beyond a reasonable doubt standard is a requirement of due process,
but the Constitution neither prohibits trial courts from defining
reasonable doubt nor requires them to do so as a matter of course. Cf.
Hopt v. Utah, 120 U.S. 430, 440-441 (1887). Indeed, so long as the court
instructs the jury on the necessity that the defendant's guilt be proven
beyond a reasonable doubt,see Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 320, n.
14 (1979), the Constitution does not require that any particular form of
words be used in advising the jury of the government's burden of proof.
Cf. Taylor v. Kentucky, 436 U.S. 478, 485-486 (1978). Rather, "taken as
a whole, the instructions [must] correctly conve[y] the concept of
reasonable doubt to the jury." Holland v. United States, 348 U.S. 121,
However, compare to this article:
The Fifth Circuit has made some recent rulings upon the CA Courts on
"Let it Be. " That's what the Fifth District, citing J. Lennon & P.
McCartney, recommends trial judges do with respect to the standard
reasonble doubt instruction. People v. Johnson, no. F042905 (Cal.Ct.App.
5th Dist., June 23, 2004). In this case, the judge "amplified at length
on the standard reasonable doubt instruction," "authorized the
prospective jurors to find Johnson guilty even if they were to have
“some doubt” about his guilt and characterized a juror who renders a
guilty verdict with “no doubt” about his guilt as 'brain dead'," and
"equated proof beyond a reasonable doubt to everyday decision-making in
a juror’s life." Reversed.
February 19, 2004
Cal.Ct.App. (2d Dist., Div. 1): Jury's Deliberation on Defendant's Guilt
is Not Like Planning a Vacation
In People v. Johnson, no. B167361, the California Court of Appeal (2d
Dist., Div. 1) vacated a criminal conviction because the trial judge had
"erred in amplifying on the reaonable doubt instruction." Here's the
fatal amplification (don't try this at home):
“The burden is proof beyond a reasonable doubt. A doubt that has reason
to it, not a ridiculous doubt, not a mere possible doubt. Because we all
have a possible doubt whether we will be here tomorrow. That’s certainly
a possibility. We could be run over tonight. God, that would be a
horrible thing, but it’s a possibility. It’s not reasonable for us to
think that we will because we plan our lives around the prospect of
being alive. We take vacations; we get on airplanes. We do all these
things because we have a belief beyond a reasonable doubt that we will
be here tomorrow or we will be here in June, in my case, to go to Hawaii
on a vacation. But we wouldn’t plan our lives ahead if we had a
reasonable doubt that we would, in fact, be alive.”
The Court of Appeal found this elaboration on the standard a little off
We are not prepared to say that people planning vacations or scheduling
flights engage in a deliberative process to the depth required of jurors
or that such people finalize their plans only after persuading
themselves that they have an abiding conviction of the wisdom of the
endeavor. Nor can we say that people make such decisions while aware of
the concept of “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
The background section of the opinion starts with this nice sentence:
"After dating for a short while, defendant and the victim became parents
of a baby girl."
More from the CA Penal Code:
1127b. When, in any criminal trial or proceeding, the opinion of
any expert witness is received in evidence, the court shall instruct
the jury substantially as follows:
Duly qualified experts may give their opinions on questions in
controversy at a trial. To assist the jury in deciding such
questions, the jury may consider the opinion with the reasons stated
therefor, if any, by the expert who gives the opinion. The jury is
not bound to accept the opinion of any expert as conclusive, but
should give to it the weight to which they shall find it to be
entitled. The jury may, however, disregard any such opinion, if it
shall be found by them to be unreasonable.
No further instruction on the subject of opinion evidence need be
1164. (a) When the verdict given is receivable by the court, the
clerk shall record it in full upon the minutes, and if requested by
any party shall read it to the jury, and inquire of them whether it
is their verdict. If any juror disagrees, the fact shall be entered
upon the minutes and the jury again sent out; but if no disagreement
is expressed, the verdict is complete, and the jury shall, subject to
subdivision (b), be discharged from the case.
(b) No jury shall be discharged until the court has verified on
the record that the jury has either reached a verdict or has formally
declared its inability to reach a verdict on all issues before it,
including, but not limited to, the degree of the crime or crimes
charged, and the truth of any alleged prior conviction whether in the
same proceeding or in a bifurcated proceeding.
To learn about the three types of murder invoving a purpose to kill:
( California ) JURY INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE NEW MILLENIUM:
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