Okay. That’s quite a bit to process in one reading. Let’s break it down in relevant part:
The fact that a criminal charge has been filed against the defendant[s] is not evidence that the charge is true. You must not be biased against the defendant[s] just because (he/she/they) (has/have) been arrested, charged with a crime, or brought to trial.
A defendant in a criminal case is presumed to be innocent. This presumption requires that the People prove each element of a crime [and special allegation] beyond a reasonable doubt.
These make up the Presumption of Innocence portion of the jury instructions, which will be discussed in a later post. But suffice it to say, the person is presumed innocent until the government has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the person is guilty of the crime charged – that is all we need to know for right now.
Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is proof that leaves you with an abiding conviction that the charge is true. The evidence need not eliminate all possible doubt because everything in life is open to some possible or imaginary doubt.
In deciding whether the People have proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt, you must impartially compare and consider all the evidence that was received throughout the entire trial.
Unless the evidence proves the defendant[s] guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, (he/she/they) (is/are) entitled to an acquittal and you must find (him/her/them) not guilty.
The definition of reasonable doubt speaks of an abiding conviction, which is a belief that you can feel comfortable with hours, days, weeks, months or even years from the date of the judgment and that you will remain confident that you did not have any reasonable doubt or doubts as to the guilt or innocence of the defendant you convicted of a crime.
As we age, I believe having an abiding conviction about much of anything is difficult. As stated previously, we are all shaped by our life experiences and those life experiences that may occur after a jury verdict could change your mind from what you once thought was unreasonable you may later find to be reasonable – this is why it is important to be 100% sure that you really do not have any reasonable doubt as to whether the charge is true.