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§ 903.03, Conclusive Presumptions — Generally

State v. Sherry L. Schultz, 2007 WI App 257; companion case: State v. Scott R. Jensen, 2007 WI App 256; prior history: State v. Scott R. Jensen, 2004 WI App 89, affirmed, 2005 WI 31For Schultz: Stephen L. Morgan, Jennifer M. Krueger


¶9        In State v. Kuntz, 160 Wis.  2d 722, 736-37, 467 N.W.2d 531 (1991), the supreme court explained that:

A mandatory presumption instructs the jury that it must find the elemental fact if the state proves certain predicate facts.  A mandatory presumption that is irrebutable is conclusive.  Thus, a mandatory conclusive presumption relieves the state of its burden of persuasion by removing the presumed element from the case entirely if the state proves the predicate facts.

(Citations omitted.)  Wisconsin Stat. § 903.03(2) limits the circumstances under which a judge may direct a jury to find a presumed fact against a defendant.  In the event that the judge gives such an instruction, § 903.03(3) requires that

the judge shall give an instruction that the law declares that the jury may regard the basic facts as sufficient evidence of the presumed fact but does not require it to do so.  In addition, if the presumed fact establishes guilt or is an element of the offense or negatives a defense, the judge shall instruct the jury that its existence must, on all the evidence, be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.


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