Law Offices of Jeffrey W. Jensen 111 E. Wisconsin Ave., Suite 1925 Milwaukee, WI 53202-4825
Jeffrey W. Jensen is a criminal defense lawyer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is also a criminal appeals lawyer in Wisconsin.
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Wisconsin Supreme Court holds that Wisconsin's burden of proof instruction does not lower the state's burden of proof.
June 8, 2019. Last week the Wisconsin Supreme Court decided that Wisconsin's burden of proof instruction, Wis. JI-Criminal 140, does not misstate the law and lower the state's burden of proof in criminal cases. At issue in State v. Trammel, 2017AP1206, were the last two sentences in the burden of proof instruction, which read, "Although you are to give the defendant the benefit of every reasonable doubt, you are not to search for doubt. You are to search for the truth." Trammel offered numerous arguments claiming that these two sentences lower the burden of proof on the state. The gist of all of the arguments, though, is that the instruction misstates the law because, in fact, the jury is supposed to search for doubt, and then discern whether any such doubt is reasonable. In other words, the jury cannot find a reasonable doubt unless they first search for doubt. Similarly, the argument is that the admonition to "search for the truth" is an invitation for the jury to speculate as to what really happened. In affirming Trammel's conviction, the Supreme Court gave short shrift to most of Trammel's arguments. The court was particularly unimpressed with Trammel's claim that scientific research shows that when jury's are given the current burden of proof instruction, the rate of conviction increases over trials in which the instruction is not given.
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Milwaukee criminal defense attorney Jeffrey W. Jensen, of the Law Offices of Jeffrey W. Jensen, a Milwaukee law firm with offices located at 111 E. Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 1925, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has represented persons throughout the State of Wisconsin. If you will face felony charges in either state court or in federal court you should call 414.671.9484. Attorney Jensen regularly appears in Milwaukee County (Milwaukee criminal defense lawyer), Waukesha County (Waukesha criminal defense lawyer, Brookfield criminal defense lawyer), Washington County (West Bend and Germantown criminal defense lawyer), Racine County (Racine criminal defense lawyer), Kenosha County (Kenosha criminal defense lawyer), Brown County (Green Bay criminal defense lawyer), Fond du Lac County (Fond du Lac criminal defense lawyer), and Winnebago County (Oshkosh criminal defense lawyer)
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