5 Things To Ask Jurors About Reasonable Doubt
When selecting a jury in Texas the criminal lawyer must always ask jurors about reasonable doubt. Under Texas law the jury will not be given a legal definition of reasonable doubt. It is essential that the jurors true feelings about reasonable doubt are explored and that jurors understand how high the burden of proof is in a criminal case.
1. Ask Jurors what Beyond a Reasonable Doubt means. Get the jurors to tell you what reasonable doubt means in their own words. Use their words in your final argument.
2. Ask Jurors why the law requires reasonable doubt to be so high. Get the jurors to tell you in their own words why reasonable doubt is so high. You will get some great answers. Again use the jurors words in your final argument.
3. Demonstrate the high burden of Beyond Reasonable Doubt. Use a diagram showing the different burdens of proof in Texas law. Start with reasonable suspicion for stopping a citizen, next go to probable cause for arrest. Then explain civil lawyers sue for millions and have to prove preponderance of the evidence. Next explain the government must have clear and convincing evidence to remove children from their parents. Finally explain that the burden of proof of beyond a reasonable doubt in a criminal case is even higher.
4. Ask what verdict should be if jurors aren’t sure. Try to find out what jurors would do if they were not sure what happened after the state rest it’s case. Demonstrate that if they are not sure what happened or who to believe they must give the defendant the benefit of reasonable doubt.
5.Make jurors commit. Ask jurors if you believe there is reasonable doubt can you take pen in hand and write Not Guilty. Use this in your closing argument.