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Guilty or Not Guilty? Are there any other options?

In Indiana, generally a criminal jury is charged with deciding whether an individual before them is not guilty or guilty. In some limited instances, a jury has other options based on an individual’s mental capacity. But what if there was another option? In Scotland, for example, their system is somewhat unique in that it provides for three options: guilty, not guilty, and not proven. The “not proven” option is a version of acquittal that specifies that the government has not met their burden of proof; rather than “not guilty” which indicates the jury’s belief that no crime actual took place. The Scottish government has recently addressed whether this third option should remain a part of their system. See www.scotsman.com/news/politics/ (last visited July 22, 2015).

Whether the Scots elect to keep that third “not proven” verdict or not, maybe it should be considered in Indiana. Under Indiana law, the jury is the decider of the law and the facts. Ind. Const. Article 1, Section 19. If that is the case, then why not allow them to expressly decide and tell the State it has not met its high burden to prove criminal liability? Perhaps Hoosiers and our Legislature should consider making this a part of our system.

Contact us today if you have questions or believe your First Amendment or criminal rights have been violated. We stand ready to provide our clients with trusted representation and accurate information regarding the law and its application to their individualized case. Act now and contact us today at 1-800-NOT-GUILTY or (317) 857-0160.