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Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

1.1-3 Constitutional Principles

Revised to December 1, 2007

There are a few basic principles of law that apply to all criminal cases. The first is the presumption of innocence. Every defendant in a criminal case is presumed to be innocent; this presumption of innocence remains with the defendant throughout the trial unless and until the state proves beyond a reasonable doubt the elements of the crime charged. The defendant does not have to prove that (he/she) is innocent.

The burden of proof is on the state to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the elements of a crime charged under a count before you can find the defendant guilty of that crime. In my later instructions to you I will fully explain what is meant by burden of proof and proof beyond a reasonable doubt. I will also explain the elements of each crime charged.

Every defendant in a criminal case has the right not to testify if (he/she) so chooses. This is a right guaranteed by the constitution of the United States and the constitution of Connecticut. If, in this case, the defendant does not testify, you must draw no unfavorable inferences from the defendant's failure to testify.


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