Dear DAs…the evidence is “reasonable” is not the same thing as proof beyond a reasonable doubt

In working on a prosecutorial misconduct argument today, I came across this lovely article by the legendary Chuck Sevilla called: “TRIVIALIZATION OF THE BURDEN OF PROOF BEYOND A
REASONABLE DOUBT TO MERE REASONABLENESS: CENTENO ERRORS I HAVE SEEN.”
Centeno is the lovely case where the Cal Supreme Court smacked down the bullshit puzzle analogy to proof beyond a reasonable doubt and found IAC for not objecting. AND reversed. It has amazing language about watering down the standard. This article was great because it points out something that the DA constantly does, but I don’t think I previously recognized it as improper like in Centeno:

“The far more pervasive issue is when the prosecutor argues that proof beyond a reasonable doubt is satisfied by a showing of the “reasonableness” of the proof. This is often based on the prosecutor’s use of CalCrim 224 and 225 on circumstantial evidence, quoted in full at the end of this paper.”

check it out. object. File an in lim asking prosecutors read a laundry list of misconduct cases before closing. 🙂

Published by Jenny Brandt

About Me: sociology, african american studies, chicano/a studies, critical race studies, and criminal law scholar. public school kid from kindergarten-J.D. Former public defender. I am a post-conviction guru. Appeals. Sentencing. Withdraw Pleas. Habeas. Published author in the Criminal Law Bulletin and California Defender. "I do it for the joy it brings, because I'm a joyful girl, because the world owes me nothing, and we owe each other the world." Why I started JJC: My PD buddy suggested it. What and who JJC is inspired by: public defenders I have worked for, with, and next to. my clients who have battled things no one should and are still here. innocence and guilt and everything in between. My coworkers, who fight just as hard as the PDs I love, for many of the same reasons. My husband who was once voted "most Christ like" (every Jewish girl's dream). My Corgi who loves everyone. The constitution. Tabloids. My mom, for giving me a voice. My dad, for teaching me what to say. My brother, for teaching me how to say it.

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