Montana Criminal Jury Instructions (M.C.J.I.) 2009 (2017 Supp.)
Chapter 1. Preliminary and General Instructions
An Information has been filed charging the Defendant, _______________________, with the offense of _________________________, alleged to have been committed in ________________ County, State of Montana, on or about _________________________, 20__. The Defendant has pled not guilty. The jury’s task in this case is to decide whether the Defendant is guilty or not guilty based upon the evidence and the law as stated in my instructions. These are some of the rules of law that you must follow:
1. The filing of an Information is simply a part of the legal process to bring this case into Court for trial and to notify the Defendant of the charges against him/her. Neither the Information nor the charges contained therein are to be taken by you as any indication, evidence or proof that the Defendant is guilty of any offense.
2. By a plea of not guilty, the Defendant denies every allegation of the charge.
3. The State of Montana has the burden of proving the guilt of the Defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is proof of such a convincing character that a reasonable person would rely and act upon it in the most important of his or her own affairs. Beyond a reasonable doubt does not mean beyond any doubt or beyond a shadow of a doubt.
4. The Defendant is presumed to be innocent of the charge against him. This presumption remains with him throughout every stage of the trial and during your deliberations on the verdict. It is not overcome unless from all the evidence in the case you are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the Defendant is guilty. The Defendant is not required to prove his innocence or present any evidence.