McWane (N.D. Ala.) Court Jury Instructions (4.5.05) Page 423
A “reasonable doubt” is a real doubt, based upon reason and common sense after careful and
impartial consideration of all the evidence in the case.
Proof beyond a reasonable doubt, therefore, is proof of such a convincing character that you
would be willing to rely and act upon it without hesitation in the most important of your own affairs.
If you are convinced that a Defendant has been proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, say so. If
you are not convinced, say so.
As I said earlier, you must consider only the evidence that I have admitted in the case. The
term “evidence” includes the testimony of the witnesses and the exhibits admitted in the record.
Remember that anything the lawyers say is not evidence in the case. It is your own recollection and
interpretation of the evidence that controls. What the lawyers say is not binding upon you. Also,
you should not assume from anything I may have said that I have any opinion concerning any of the
issues in this case. Except for my instructions to you on the law, you should disregard anything I
may have said during the trial in arriving at your own decision concerning the facts.
In considering the evidence you may make deductions and reach conclusions which reason
and common sense lead you to make; and you should not be unduly concerned about whether the
evidence is direct or circumstantial. “Direct evidence” is the testimony of one who asse rts actual
knowledge of a fact, such as an eye witness. “Circumstantial evidence” is proof of a chain of facts
and circumstances tending to prove, or disprove, any fact in dispute. The law makes no distinction
between the weight you may give to either direct or circumstantial evidence.
Now, in saying that you must consider all of th evidence, I do not mean that you must accept
all of the evidence as true or accurate. You should decide whether you believe what each witness
had to say, and how important that testimony was. In making those decisions you may believe or
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