Elimination of the Texas Cautionary Circumstantial Evidence Charge
Alley, Jeffrey S.
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Discusses the case of Hankins v. State where the Texas Criminal Appeals court upheld a conviction that was entirely bases on circumstantial evidence where the jury did not also hear a cautionary jury instruction. This ruling overturned a 127-year-old rule, which required a cautionary jury instruction when the evidence was wholly circumstantial. The article discusses the history of the cautionary jury instruction rule and discusses possible solutions and actions.