Document Type

Davis v. State of Ohio, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Case No. CV96-312322


April 6, 2000

Box Number


Item Number



state's filing, jury instructions, wrongful imprisonment, burden of proof


The State’s proposed jury instructions focused primarily on the difference between the burden of proof required for wrongful imprisonment and criminal prosecutions. The State instructed the jury that the Sheppard Estate must prove not just that Sam Sheppard did not kill his wife, but also that he was innocent of any and all criminal conduct connected with her death. The Estate must prove this by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning that the evidence must be at least 51% more in favor of Dr. Sheppard being innocent of any and all criminal conduct connected with his wife’s murder. The State points out that the burden in the criminal prosecution cases was beyond a reasonable doubt.

The proposed instructions further informed the jury that the wrongful imprisonment statute is intended to compensate an innocent person who was wrongfully imprisoned, not someone who has merely avoided criminal activity. The State also added the basic definitions of murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, felonious assault, aggravated assault, evidence (both direct and circumstantial), and inferences.