Saturday, April 22, 2006

It's ok to eliminate all reasonable doubt

State v. Halls, 2006 UT App 142

In State v. Reyes, 2005 UT 33, the supreme court threw out the requirement from State v. Robertson, 932 P.2d 1219 (Utah 1997), that a reasonable doubt jury instruction require the prosecution to "obviate all reasonable doubt."

Halls had a jury instruction that required the prosecution to "eliminate all reasonable doubt." He complained that the instruction was manifest error under Reyes. The court of appeals disagreed. It held that the phrase "eliminate all reasonable doubt" is ok, so long as the jury instruction as a whole adequately communicates the principle of reasonable doubt, which is the new test under Reyes.


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