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Should courts instruct jurors to search for truth or reasonable doubt?

Looking for a creative objection? Consider this excerpt from the abstract on Michael Cicchini’s new article,  Spin Doctors: Prosecutor Sophistry and the Burden of Proof, forthcoming in the University of Cincinnati Law Review.

In two recently published studies, mock jurors who received truth-based instructions convicted at significantly higher rates than those who were simply instructed on reasonable doubt. Jurors who received the truth-based instructions were also far more likely to mistakenly believe it was proper to convict even if they had a reasonable doubt about guilt. Citing this empirical evidence, defense lawyers have been asking trial courts to remove truth-related language from their burden of proof jury instructions, and to prohibit prosecutors from making search-for-truth arguments to jurors.

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Christian Thomas August 14, 2018, 8:06 am

    I have a motion asking for this language to be struck if anyone wants it!

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