State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > Wisconsin > 979 > 979.08

979.08

979.08 Inquests: instructions, burden of proof and verdict.

979.08(1)

(1) When the evidence is concluded and the testimony closed, the judge or circuit court commissioner shall instruct the jury on its duties and on the substantive law regarding the issues inquired into before the jury. The district attorney shall prepare a written set of appropriate requested instructions and shall submit them to the judge or circuit court commissioner who, together with the district attorney, shall compile the final set of instructions which shall be given. The instructions shall include those criminal offenses for which the judge or circuit court commissioner believes a reasonable jury might return a verdict based upon a finding of probable cause.

979.08(2)

(2) The jury's verdict shall be based upon a finding of probable cause and shall be unanimous.

979.08(3)

(3) The jury shall retire to consider its verdict after hearing all of the testimony and evidence, making all necessary inquiries and having been instructed in the law. The judge or circuit court commissioner shall provide the jury with one complete set of written instructions providing the substantive law to be applied to the issues to be decided. The verdict shall be in a form which permits the following findings:

979.08(3)(a)

(a) Whether the deceased came to his or her death by criminal means and, if so, the specific crimes committed and the name of the person or persons, if known, having committed the crimes.

979.08(3)(b)

(b) Whether the deceased came to his or her death by natural causes, accident, suicide or an act privileged by law.

979.08(4)

(4) The jury shall render its verdict in writing, signed by all of its members. The verdict shall set forth its findings from the evidence produced according to the instructions.

979.08(5)

(5) The verdict delivered by the inquest jury is advisory and does not preclude or require the issuance of any criminal charges by the district attorney.

979.08(6)

(6) Any verdict so rendered, after being validated and signed by the judge or circuit court commissioner, together with the record of the inquest, shall be delivered to the district attorney for consideration. After considering the verdict and record, the district attorney may deliver the entire inquest record or any part thereof to the coroner or medical examiner for safekeeping.

979.08(7)

(7) The record of a secret inquest proceeding shall not be open for inspection unless so ordered by the judge or circuit court commissioner conducting the inquest upon petition by the district attorney.

979.08 - ANNOT.

History: 1983 a. 279; 2001 a. 61.