Maybe I’m remembering wrong, but IIRC there is a tenet of law that once the state bites off a larger piece of the pie than they needed to, they are stuck with it.
Suppose that in your jurisdiction, the elements of burglary are:
- entry of a dwelling during the nighttime;
- with the intent of committing a felony or larceny therein.
John Smith is on trial for burglary, but the State for some reason gets an indictment, proposes (and is granted) a jury instruction which reads to the effect that in order to find John Smith guilty of burglary, you must find that:
- John Smith
- on January 11, 1997 between the hours of 12am and 2am
- in this County and State
- did enter the dwelling house of Ann Smith
- with the intent to commit a felony: to wit, kidnapping, therein.
The State has make a tactical mistake of limiting the jury to 12am and 2am. Suppose the uncontroverted evidence shows that it was actually 4:15am but the jury convicts anyways.
Isn’t there some general legal rule (not really specific to any state) that requires the State to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it occurred between 12am and 2am? Or am I off base.
**I realize that typos can usually be amended. Say the State put January 21, when it and everyone else knew they meant January 11. That can be corrected. I am talking about a fact that it affirmatively alleges.