Criminal Procedures


Is a trial judge required to give a definition of beyond a reasonable doubt?

The trial judge must explain the concept of beyond a reasonable doubt to jurors. This is a basic requirement of due process. The U.S. Supreme Court explained in Victor v. Nebraska (1994) that “so long as the court instructs the jury on the necessity that the defendant’s guilt be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, the Constitution does not require that any particular form of words be used in advising the jury of the government’s burden of proof.”


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