Presumption of Innocence; Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
Texas courts do not have a definition for “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Can you imagine being a juror and trying to understand the Texas Penal Code explanation below?
For a jury to find a defendant guilty of a crime, the government’s proof must meet the standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Most people understand that the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt is on the prosecution, but an experienced criminal defense attorney will develop a proper theme and theory of their own. Even during jury selection, questions need to be centered around the theme and theory. The goal of the theme and theory during the trial is to direct jurors to unanswered questions, pieces of evidence, and any issues that could create doubt. A highly skilled defense uses a systematic methodology to link evidence to legal principles in favor of the defendant.
Criminal Defense Attorney – Burden of Proof
In a criminal case, it is CRITICAL for a criminal defense lawyer to emphasize that the law requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecution does not have to prove that the defendant is guilty 100%, but they need to get pretty close to 100%! As an attorney, we want to convince the jury that they need to be 110% sure to convict someone of a crime. The attorney should also explain what this means and why it is the law, during jury selection, in the opening statement, throughout the trial, and in the closing argument.
Think of it as an intense game of chess. To win at chess, you need to get your pieces in position, coordinate an attack, and protect the King. Creating reasonable doubt means thinking 4 to 5 moves in advance. Criminal defense attorneys need a firm understanding of the law, the facts, and a strategy to highlight seeds of doubt within the prosecution’s case.
The John Nix Law Office is a full service, bilingual criminal and civil law firm. We offer comprehensive representation for all of North Texas and Southern Oklahoma. If you are being accused of a crime, give us a call and we’ll start working on your defense right away!