Guilty Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
For a Vermont criminal defendant to be convicted of a crime by a jury, the jury must unanimously find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
What does guilty beyond a reasonable doubt mean?
The Vermont Model Jury instructions define reasonable doubt as follows: “A reasonable doubt is a doubt based on reason and common sense, which comes from a fair and rational consideration of the evidence or lack of evidence in the case. It is not a vague, speculative, or imaginary doubt. No defendant may be convicted on suspicion or conjecture. If you have a reasonable doubt, you must find defendant not guilty even if you think that the charge is probably true.” For more information on understanding the Vermont Model Jury instructions as concept you may refer to our blog post.