Model Jury - Section 3
3. GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS AFTER CLOSE OF EVIDENCE;
CONSIDERATION OF EVIDENCE
3.00 COVER SHEET
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
___________ DISTRICT OF ___________
) No. ___________
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
3.01 DUTIES OF JURY TO FIND FACTS AND FOLLOW LAW
Members of the jury, now that you have heard all the evidence [and the arguments of the attorneys], it is my duty to instruct you on the law which applies to this case. [A copy of these instructions will be available in the jury room for you to consult if you find it necessary.]
It is your duty to find the facts from all the evidence in the case. To those facts you will apply the law as I give it to you. You must follow the law as I give it to you whether you agree with it or not. You must not be influenced by any personal likes or dislikes, opinions, prejudices, or sympathy. That means that you must decide the case solely on the evidence before you. You will recall that you took an oath promising to do so at the beginning of the case.
In following my instructions, you must follow all of them and not single out some and ignore others; they are all equally important. You must not read into these instructions or into anything the court may have said or done any suggestion as to what verdict you should return--that is a matter entirely up to you.
See Instruction 1.01 for preliminary instruction.
3.02 USE OF NOTES
You may use notes taken during trial to assist your memory. Notes, however, should not be substituted for your memory, and you should not be overly influenced by the notes.
See Instruction 1.10 for preliminary instruction.
3.03 WHAT IS EVIDENCE
The evidence from which you are to decide what the facts are consists of:
1. the sworn testimony of witnesses, on both direct and cross-examination, regardless of who called the witness;
2. the exhibits which have been received into evidence; and
3. any facts to which all the lawyers have agreed or stipulated.
United States v. Houston, 547 F.2d 104, 107 (9th Cir. 1976) (material facts to which the parties voluntarily stipulate are to be treated as "conclusively established").
3.04 JURY TO BE GUIDED BY OFFICIAL ENGLISH TRANSLATION/INTERPRETATION
Languages other than English have been used during this trial.
The evidence you are to consider is only that provided through the official court [interpreters] [translators]. Although some of you may know the non-English language used, it is important that all jurors consider the same evidence. Therefore, you must base your decision on the evidence presented in the English [interpretation] [translation]. You must disregard any different meaning of the non-English words.
See Instruction 1.14 for preliminary instruction.
3.05 WHAT IS NOT EVIDENCE
In reaching your verdict, you may consider only the testimony and exhibits received into evidence. Certain things are not evidence, and you may not consider them in deciding what the facts are. I will list them for you:
1. Arguments and statements by lawyers are not evidence. The lawyers are not witnesses. What they have said in their opening statements, closing arguments, and at other times is intended to help you interpret the evidence, but it is not evidence. If the facts as you remember them differ from the way the lawyers have stated them, your memory of them controls.
2. Questions and objections by lawyers are not evidence. Attorneys have a duty to their clients to object when they believe a question is improper under the rules of evidence. You should not be influenced by the objection or by the court's ruling on it.
3. Testimony that has been excluded or stricken, or that you have been instructed to disregard, is not evidence and must not be considered. [In addition some testimony and exhibits have been received only for a limited purpose; where I have given a limiting instruction, you must follow it.]
4. Anything you may have seen or heard when the court was not in session is not evidence. You are to decide the case solely on the evidence received at the trial.
See Instructions 1.03, 1.04, and 1.06 for preliminary instructions.
With regard to the bracketed material in paragraph 3, see Instructions 1.04, 2.08, and 2.09.
3.06 DIRECT AND CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE
Evidence may be direct or circumstantial. Direct evidence is direct proof of a fact, such as testimony by a witness about what the witness personally saw or heard or did. Circumstantial evidence is proof of one or more facts from which you could find another fact. You should consider both kinds of evidence. The law makes no distinction between the weight to be given to either direct or circumstantial evidence. It is for you to decide how much weight to give to any evidence.
See Instruction 1.05 for preliminary instruction.
3.07 CREDIBILITY OF WITNESSES
In deciding the facts in this case, you may have to decide which testimony to believe and which testimony not to believe. You may believe everything a witness says, or part of it, or none of it.
In considering the testimony of any witness, you may take into account:
1. the opportunity and ability of the witness to see or hear or know the things testified to;
2. the witness' memory;
3. the witness' manner while testifying;
4. the witness' interest in the outcome of the case and any bias or prejudice;
5. whether other evidence contradicted the witness' testimony;
6. the reasonableness of the witness' testimony in light of all the evidence; and 7. any other factors that bear on believability.
The weight of the evidence as to a fact does not necessarily depend on the number of witnesses who testify.
See Instruction 1.07 for preliminary instruction.
3.08 OPINION EVIDENCE (Expert Witnesses)
You have heard testimony from persons who, because of education or experience, are permitted to state opinions and the reasons for their opinions.
Opinion testimony should be judged just like any other testimony. You may accept it or reject it, and give it as much weight as you think it deserves, considering the witness' education and experience, the reasons given for the opinion, and all the other evidence in the case.
See Fed. R. Evid. 602, 701-05.
The committee recommends that this instruction be given only upon request. Since expert testimony is so common in modern jury trials, there is no good reason why it should be treated differently from other testimony.
There is not a uniform causation standard for either federal or state claims. Separate causation instructions are included with specific federal actions covered in this work. See, for example, Instructions 8.02.03 and 9.01.03.
State law on causation must be carefully reviewed for diversity or supplemental (pendent) claims. State standards vary widely and are subject to change. See, e.g., Mitchell v. Gonzales, 54 Cal. 3d 1041, 1 Cal. Rptr. 2d 913, 819 P.2d 872 (1991).
The terms "proximate cause" and "legal cause" are not uniformly defined and should be used only with the correct definition for the issues before the court.
See Comment to Instruction 7.01.
3.10 CHARTS AND SUMMARIES NOT RECEIVED IN EVIDENCE
Certain charts and summaries that have not been received in evidence have been shown to you in order to help explain the contents of books, records, documents, or other evidence in the case. They are not themselves evidence or proof of any facts. If they do not correctly reflect the facts or figures shown by the evidence in the case, you should disregard these charts and summaries and determine the facts from the underlying evidence.
This instruction applies only where the charts and summaries are not received into evidence and are used for demonstrative purposes. See United States v. Johnson, 594 F.2d 1253, 1254-55 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 444 U.S. 964 (1979).
3.11 CHARTS AND SUMMARIES IN EVIDENCE
Certain charts and summaries have been received into evidence to illustrate information brought out in the trial. Charts and summaries are only as good as the underlying evidence that supports them. You should, therefore, give them only such weight as you think the underlying evidence deserves.
See Fed. R. Evid. 1006.
3.12 TWO OR MORE PARTIES--DIFFERENT LEGAL RIGHTS
You should decide the case as to each [plaintiff] [defendant] [party] separately. Unless otherwise stated, the instructions apply to all parties.
3.13 COMMUNICATION WITH COURT
If it becomes necessary to communicate with me during deliberations, you may send a folded note through the [marshal] [bailiff] [clerk] [law clerk], signed by a juror. Do not disclose the content of your note to the [marshal] [bailiff] [clerk] [law clerk].
Do not communicate with the court about the case except by a signed note. I will only communicate with you regarding the case in writing or in open court.
Do not disclose any vote count in any note to the court.
3.14 DUTY TO DELIBERATE
When you retire, you should elect one member of the jury as your foreperson. That person will preside over the deliberations and speak for you here in court.
You will then discuss the case with your fellow jurors to reach agreement if you can do so. Your verdict must be unanimous.
Each of you must decide the case for yourself, but you should do so only after you have considered all the evidence, discussed it fully and with the other jurors, and listened to the views of your fellow jurors.
Do not be afraid to change your opinion if the discussion persuades you that you should. Do not come to a decision simply because other jurors think it is right.
It is important that you attempt to reach a unanimous verdict but, of course, only if each of you can do so after having made your own conscientious decision. Do not change an honest belief about the weight and effect of the evidence simply to reach a verdict.
3.15 RETURN OF VERDICT
After you have reached unanimous agreement on a verdict, your foreperson will fill in, date, and sign the verdict form or forms and advise the court that you have reached a verdict.
The judge may also wish to explain to the jury the particular form of verdict being used and just how to "advise the court" of a verdict.