Oklahoma criminal reports Volume 3

This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can usually download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1910 edition. Excerpt : …

This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can usually download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1910 edition. Excerpt : . . . you believe from the evidence that the defendant, acting either alone or in concert with Jeff Wood, did not poison Elizabeth Rucker as explained in paragraph 5, or if you believe that the deceased was poisoned by accident, or by her own voluntary act, or if you believe that the deceased died from natural causes, or if you believe that deceased was poisoned by some other person than the defendant, acting alone or in connection with J efi Wood, then you will find the defendant not guilty. ‘ Wilson, Judge, speaking for the court,-says : ‘We think the paragraph is subject to the exception that it requires the jury to believe from the evidence the existence of the conditions which entitled him to acquittal. It virtually requires the jury to believe from the evidence that he is innocent before finding him not guilty; vhereas, the correct rule is that the jury must presume his innocence until his guilt has been established by the evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. If the jury entertain a reasonable doubt upon the whole evidence of the defendant’s guilt, it was their duty to acquit him, although they might not believe from the evidence the existence of the facts and conditions, or any of them. mentioned in said paragraph. It is true that in concluding Opinion ot the Court. his charge the learned judge gave the usual instruction as to the presumption of innocence and as to reasonable doubt, and ordinarily such instruction is sufficient; but in this case we do not think it was sufiicient to correct and counteract the error in paragraph 5. The vice of the paragraph is in requiring the jury to believe from the evidence that some one of said conditions existed, in order to warrant a verdict of acquittal because thereof. ‘ It is. . .

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