Criminal Law- Wesson- Spring 2006- Alexander 93

Criminal Law- Wesson- Spring 2006- Alexander 93 - 1 Burdens...

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Burdens of Proof Burden of Production – burden to produce evidence or raise a Δ o Prosecution – must produce evidence as to elements of the crime BRD. If it does not meet this burden, the Δ is entitled to acquittal. o Defense – must produce evidence to raise an affirmative defense (may be “scintilla,” enough to raise a RD, preponderance). If not met jury may not be instructed as to Δ. Burden of Persuasion – once burden of production is met issues are before a jury for consideration. Where there is any risk of imprisonment for a significant amount of time right to jury trial. o Prosecution – burden is always on the prosecution to prove each element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt – In Re Winship o Defense – burden may be on Δ to prove affirmative Δ w/o violating due process The affirm Δ allocated to the Δ may not be an element of the crime If the statute defines the crime in terms of an element that might otherwise be an affirm. Δ it may not allocate the burden to Δ – Mullaney (e.g., statute defines murder as “not in heat of passion” – may not allocate burden to prove HOP; otherwise, it may) o The distinction between justification and excuse is useful in accomplice liability and in deciding who should bear a burden of proof on certain Δ . For justifications it makes sense that the state should bear the burden of proof because they must prove BRD that a wrongful act was committed. If the Δ carried the burden, she might be convicted, even though her act was not wrongful, on a lesser showing. For Excuses – the wrongful act has already been proved. Proof of Guilt at Trial Owens v. State – Two equally valid inferences could prima facie be drawn: that he was about to drive but had not yet (innocent) OR that he had just concluded driving (guilty). Convictions based on circumstantial evidence alone cannot be sustained “unless the circumstances are inconsistent w/ any reasonable hypothesis of innocence.” On closer look the court found that it was unreasonable to conclude that he was about to drive. Both parties must agree to a bench trial because there is no C right to one. Often used if Δ has a criminal record and must testify (difficult for a jury to look past this during testimony). Downside is that there are no instructions to attack on appeal so hard to claim that law was misapplied. At the close of the State’s case the Δ may make a motion for a DV of acquittal (“half-time” motion), asserting the C presumption of innocence and that the prosecution has failed to overcome that presumption. If the motion is denied, it may be made again at the close of Δ and before closing arguments. o A judge must grant a motion for a DVOA if there is no evidence upon which a reasonable mind might conclude guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. “If either of the two results, a reasonable doubt or no reasonable doubt, is fairly possibly , he must let the jury decide the matter” ( Curley v. US ) The Δ may make a motion for JNOV after the return of a guilty verdict.
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  • Fall '06
  • Pizzi
  • Law, criminal law, mens rea element

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