Prior to beginning work on this discussion, read The Burden of Reasonable Doubt: When a Standard Designed to Protect Defendants Actually Hurts Them (Links to an external site.) and Federal and State Jurisdiction (Links to an external site.) Additionally, watch What Does Beyond a Reasonable Doubt Mean? (Links to an external site.)

A central component to any criminal case is the jurisdictional requirement for a court to hear a criminal case. In your examinations this week, focus on the power of jurisdiction and its significance as part of the criminal justice system. Who creates jurisdiction, and why is it so significant? Similarly, a sound understanding of the legal requirement that the prosecution must prove every element of a statute beyond a reasonable doubt is required for all criminal justice professionals. This discussion requires you to examine reasonable doubt instructions for juries from three states and choose which one is best; remember to justify your responses with reliable sources.

  • If your last name begins with the letters A through L: Explain the central components of the legal term and substantive criminal law requirement for jurisdiction. At a minimum, your response must detail all of the following:
    • What is jurisdiction, and how does it affect criminal prosecution?
    • Can the type of crime determine jurisdiction for a court?
    • Distinguish between federal and state jurisdiction for courts in criminal cases.
  • If your last name begins with the letters M through Z:
    • What is the legal concept of the prosecutor’s burden of proving all elements of a criminal offense beyond a reasonable doubt (BARD)?
    • Where did the burden of BARD come from, historically?
    • Compare and contrast the beyond a reasonable doubt jury instructions from these three different states: Nevada, New York, and Louisiana; pick the one that best explains this legal concept and justify your answer in your primary discussion posting.
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