Submitted June 17, 2016
Appeal from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia
Criminal Division, CF2-20479-13, Hon. John McCabe, Trial
Hinkes was on the brief for appellant.
Channing D. Phillips, United States Attorney, and Elizabeth
Trosman, Lindsey Merikas, Alicia Long, and Danielle M. Kudla,
Assistant United States Attorneys, were on the brief for
Fisher and McLeese, Associate Judges, and Steadman, Senior
case was submitted to the court on the transcript of record
and the briefs filed, and without presentation of oral
argument. On consideration whereof, and for the reasons set
forth in the opinion filed this date, it is now hereby
and ADJUDGED that the judgment on appeal is affirmed.
Associate Judge John R. Fisher
Daniel Griffin challenges his convictions, arguing that the
trial court committed reversible error by omitting part of
the first paragraph of this jurisdiction's standard jury
instruction defining reasonable doubt. Finding no plain
error, we affirm.
was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, possession
of an unregistered firearm, and unlawful possession of
ammunition. On the afternoon before the jury was to be
instructed, the court sent its proposed jury instructions to
counsel by email. Later that evening, defense counsel
replied: "I believe the instructions are fine[.]"
The next day, the judge read the following instruction to the
Reasonable doubt, as the name implies, is a doubt based on
reason, a doubt for which you have a reason based upon the
evidence or lack of evidence in the case. If after careful,
honest and impartial consideration of all the evidence you
cannot say that you are firmly convinced of a defendant's
guilt, then you have a reasonable doubt.
Reasonable doubt is the kind of doubt that would cause a
reasonable person after careful and thoughtful reflection to
hesitate to act in the graver or more important matters in
life. However, it is not an imaginary doubt, nor a doubt
based on speculation or guesswork. It is a doubt based on
reason. The government is not required to prove guilt beyond
all doubt or to a mathematical or scientific certainty. Its
burden is to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
reading this instruction, the judge omitted the entire first
paragraph of the reasonable doubt instruction we adopted in
Smith v. United ...