2006 Ohio Revised Code - 2901.05. Burden and degree of proof.

§ 2901.05. Burden and degree of proof.

(A)  Every person accused of an offense is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and the burden of proof for all elements of the offense is upon the prosecution. The burden of going forward with the evidence of an affirmative defense, and the burden of proof, by a preponderance of the evidence, for an affirmative defense, is upon the accused. 

(B)  As part of its charge to the jury in a criminal case, the court shall read the definitions of "reasonable doubt" and "proof beyond a reasonable doubt," contained in division (D) of this section. 

(C)  As used in this section, an "affirmative defense" is either of the following: 

(1) A defense expressly designated as affirmative; 

(2) A defense involving an excuse or justification peculiarly within the knowledge of the accused, on which he can fairly be required to adduce supporting evidence. 

(D)  "Reasonable doubt" is present when the jurors, after they have carefully considered and compared all the evidence, cannot say they are firmly convinced of the truth of the charge. It is a doubt based on reason and common sense. Reasonable doubt is not mere possible doubt, because everything relating to human affairs or depending on moral evidence is open to some possible or imaginary doubt. "Proof beyond a reasonable doubt" is proof of such character that an ordinary person would be willing to rely and act upon it in the most important of his own affairs. 

HISTORY: 134 v H 511 (Eff 1-1-74); 137 v H 1168. Eff 11-1-78.

Not analogous to former RC § 2901.05 (RS § 6810; S&C 402; 33 v 33; GC § 12403; 124 v 14; Bureau of Code Revision, eff 10-1-53), repealed 134 v H 511, § 2, eff 1-1-74.


19xx Committee Report or Comment.

1974 Committee Comment to H 511

This section retains the substance of an existing law which presumes the innocence of an accused, requires the prosecution to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, defines reasonable doubt, and requires the definition to be read to the jury. The definition of reasonable doubt combines elements of the former Ohio and existing federal definitions, restylized for greater ease in understanding. 

Also the section places upon the accused the burden of going forward with the evidence of an affirmative defense. It defines affirmative defense to include defenses expressly designated as affirmative in various sections in the code, and defenses based on evidence within the accused's special knowledge which he himself ought fairly be required to adduce. 

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