Negligent Operation

Reporter’s Note

Transition from Grossly Negligent Operation to Lesser-Included Offense.  The defendant has a right to choose between a “hard” or “soft” transition.  The hard transition requires a verdict on the highest offense before the jury considers any lesser included offenses.  The soft transition allows the jurors to consider the lesser offense if they are unable to agree upon a verdict on the higher offense “after all reasonable efforts to reach a unanimous verdict.”  State v. Duff, 150 Vt. 329, 336-37 (1988).  The committee has generally used “soft” transitions, because most defendants prefer “soft” transitions over “hard.”  The following is an example of a “hard” transition, in case the defendant prefers that approach:

You must first consider the charge of grossly negligent operation of a motor vehicle.  If the State has proven each of the essential elements of that charge, then you must find (Def)_______________ guilty of that charge, and you will be done with your deliberations.  If you decide that the State has not proven each and every one of the essential elements of grossly negligent operation of a motor vehicle, then you must find (Def)_______________ not guilty of that charge, and then you must consider whether [he] [she] is guilty of the offense of negligent operation of a motor vehicle.

 

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