The U.S. Supreme Court said Tuesday that it will hear an appeal by a convicted Los Angeles murderer who says California’s standard jury instructions on what is a reasonable doubt are unconstitutionally flawed.
To be convicted of a crime, all the jurors must find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In California, a judge tells jurors that they should have a “moral certainty of the truth of the charge.”
Lawyers for Alfred Arthur Sandoval said that this instruction suggests the jurors should rely on their feelings about the crime rather than the evidence. Sandoval was convicted of four Eastside murders in 1984. In December, the state Supreme Court affirmed his conviction and sentence.