Hernandez judge defined ‘reasonable doubt’ for jury

AP Photo/CJ Gunther, Pool

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — When she handed the case over to the jurors, Judge E. Susan Garsh gave specific instruction on the definition of reasonable doubt and how it should affect their verdict for Aaron Hernandez.

The judge also noted how difficult the concept of reasonable doubt is.

Before she turned the case over to the jurors, Garsh explained the concept by using a definition from the Massachusetts Supreme Court.

“A charge is proved beyond a reasonable doubt if, after you have compared and considered all of the evidence, you have in your minds an abiding conviction to a moral certainty that the charge is true,” she said.

This comment prompted another explanation by Garsh, this time about the legal definition of moral certainty.

“We mean the highest degree of certainty possible in matters relating to human affairs,” she said.

Garsh told the jury they could not speculate, but they could use their own logic to infer whether or not the evidence points to Hernandez.

“If you examine all the evidence and you still have a reasonable doubt remaining, the defendant is entitled to the benefit of that doubt and must be acquitted,” she said.

There were several pieces of evidence — that the prosecutor considered key to the case — that were not allowed to be presented in the trial.

For example, Hernandez’s indictment for a double murder in Boston 11 months before Odin Lloyd’s death was excluded and the jury did not hear it.

On Wednesday, the jury will enter the seventh day of deliberations.

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