Many people in Michigan misunderstand what 'beyond a reasonable doubt' actually means. For a jury trial criminal defense attorney, one of the most challenging tasks is explaining to a juror the levels of proofs needed to make a determination of innocence or guilt. This is probably one of the most important aspects when picking a jury in Michigan.
Unlike a civil trial where you need much less proof, a criminal trial carries the highest level of proof, called proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
Every criminal jury trial, regardless of whether it is a misdemeanor, such as domestic violence, assault and battery, DUI, possession of drugs, or a felony, such as delivery and manufacturing of drugs, firearm charge, theft crimes, murder, resisting an arrest (R & O), and so one, the burden of proof is the same to all of them. In other words, the level of proof is the same if the accused is charged with a DUI or murder. There is no difference in the proofs required by law. So juror will need to understand that when deciding the case, they will have to consider that the proofs required are no different if they were deciding to a hang a man or woman, if we were a capital punishment state, which Michigan is not.
The first step is to select a pool of jurors who are unbiased and fair individuals, but more importantly, those who understand what it means to prove someone guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a challenge because there some people who take any kind of evidence and automatically conclude someone is guilty of the crime they are accused. There are some people who will determine guilt because the Prosecutor had more witness than the defense attorney or had more documentary evidence and suspicious, therefore they are guilty. There are some people will convict because they feel there is a probability that the Defendant committed the crime. Then there are people who simply don't just understand what reasonable doubt actually means. All of the people described above should render a NOT GUILTY.
Below is an excellent and effective illustrative chart to explain to a jury what 'Beyond A Reasonable Doubt' means:
Attorney Daniel D. Hajji is a criminal defense attorney in Oakland County, Michigan. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime in Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw, Livingston or surrounding counties, contact Attorney Daniel Hajji for a free consultation (248) 599-0054.