Category: jury instruction

  • Texas’s Accomplice Witness Rule

    Here’s the application paragraph of the accomplice-witness-as-a-question-of-fact jury instruction from the Harris County jury charge bank. Therefore, if you believe from the evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that an offense was committed and you further believe from the evidence that the witness, _____ , was an accomplice, or you have a reasonable doubt whether he […]

  • Jury Suppression in Texas

    There was a little discussion on Twitter this morning, started by Houston DWI lawyer Paul Kennedy, about suppression of illegally obtained evidence in Texas. In Texas, foreigners are often surprised to learn, juries can decide suppression issues on disputed facts—for example, when the cops say that they stopped the defendant for not wearing a seatbelt […]

  • Legal Sufficiency and Proof

    A rookie lawyer mistake that I see even experienced lawyers on both sides of the criminal bar make is this: confusing “legally sufficient evidence” with “proof beyond a reasonable doubt”. The prosecutor points to a case saying that similar evidence was legally sufficient as proof that the accused will be convicted; the defense lawyer acquiesces […]

  • Failure to Testify

    From McClung’s Texas Pattern Jury Charges: You are instructed that our law provides that the failure of the defendant to testify shall not be taken as a circumstance against him, and during your deliberations you must not allude to, comment on, or discuss the failure of the defendant to testify in this cause, nor will […]