United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah Division
GLENN D. ODOM, II
of the jury, it is now time for me to instruct you about the
law that you must follow in deciding this case. I will start
by explaining your duties and the general rules that apply in
every civil case. Then I will explain the elements, or parts,
of the claims in question.
have two main duties as a juror: The first is to decide what
the facts are from the evidence that you saw and heard here
in Court. Deciding what the facts are is your job-not mine.
Nothing that I have said or done during this trial was meant
to influence your decision about the facts in any way.
second duty is to take the law that I give you and to apply
it to the facts. It is my job to instruct you about the law,
and you are bound by the oath you took at the beginning of
the trial to follow the instructions that I give you, even if
you personally disagree with them. This includes the
instructions that I gave you during the trial and these
instructions now. All of the instructions are important, and
you should consider them together as a whole.
lawyers may have talked about the law during their arguments.
But if what they said is different from what I say, you must
follow what I say. What I say about the law controls.
these duties fairly. Do not let any bias, sympathy, or
prejudice that you may feel toward one side or the other
influence your decision in any way. The law does not permit
you to be governed by sympathy, prejudice, or public opinion.
All parties expect that you will carefully and impartially
consider all of the evidence, follow the law as I give it to
you, and reach a just verdict, regardless of the
should consider and decide this case as a dispute between
persons of equal standing in the community, of equal worth,
and holding the same or similar stations in life. All persons
stand equal before the law and are to be treated as equals.
to consider only the evidence in the case. Unless you are
otherwise instructed, the evidence in the case consists of
the sworn testimony of the witnesses regardless of who called
the witness, all exhibits received in evidence regardless of
who may have produced them, and all facts and events that may
have been admitted or stipulated to. Statements and arguments
by lawyers are not evidence. The lawyers are not witnesses.
What they have said in their opening statement, closing
arguments, and at other times is intended to help you
understand the evidence, but it is not evidence.
part of your job as jurors is to decide how credible, or
believable, each witness was. This is your job, not mine. It
is up to you to decide if a witness's testimony was
believable and how much weight you think it deserves. You are
free to believe everything that a witness said, or only part
of it, or none of it at all. But you should act reasonably
and carefully in making these decisions.
required to evaluate the testimony of a law-enforcement
officer as you would the testimony of any other witness. No.
special weight may be given to his or her testimony because
he or she is a law-enforcement officer.
have heard the testimony of the plaintiff, Mr. Odom. You have
also heard that before this trial, Mr. Odom was convicted of
a crime. This conviction was brought to your attention only
as one way of helping you decide how believable his testimony
was. Do not use it for any other purpose. It is not evidence
of anything else.
consider other things that you think shed some light on the
witness's believability. Use your common sense and your
everyday experience in dealing with other people, and then
decide what testimony you believe and how much weight you
think it deserves. The weight of the evidence does not
necessarily depend upon the number of witnesses who testify
for either side.
you have taken notes during the trial. You may use any notes
taken by you during trial. However, the notes should not be
substituted for your memory. Remember, notes are not
evidence. If your memory should differ from your notes, then
you should rely on your memory and not your notes. You should
not be influenced by another juror's notes.
you go to the jury room, you will select one juror to act as
your foreperson. The foreperson will preside over your
discussions and will speak for you here in Court. You will
take these instructions to the jury room. When you have
reached a unanimous agreement, your foreperson will complete,
date, and sign your answers. Nothing I have said or done is
intended to suggest what your verdict should be. That is
entirely for you to decide.
you start deliberating, do not talk to the marshal or to
anyone else, except each other, about the case. If you have
any questions or messages, you must write them down on a
piece of paper, sign them, and give them to the marshal. The
marshal will give them to me, and I will respond as soon as I
can. I may have to talk to the parties about what you have
asked, so it may take some time for me to get back to you.
more thing about messages: Do not ever write down or tell
anyone outside the jury room how you stand on your votes.
That should stay secret until you are finished.
verdict or answer to any question must be unanimous. That is,
all eight (8) members of the jury must agree on any answer to
the question and on the verdict. It is your duty as jurors to
discuss this case and to try to reach an agreement. You must
each decide the case for yourself, but only after you have
considered all of the evidence, discussed it fully with your
fellow jurors, and listened to the views of the other jurors.
Do not be afraid to change your opinion if the discussion
persuades you that you should. But do not make a decision
simply because other jurors think that it is right, or simply
to reach a verdict. Your sole interest is to seek the truth
from the evidence.
term "preponderance of the evidence" is used many
times in these instructions and deserves some explanation
before addressing the claims involved in the case. To
establish something by a "preponderance of the
evidence" means to prove that something is more likely
so than it is not so. In other words, a preponderance of the
evidence means such evidence as, when considered and compared
to that opposed to it, has more convincing force, and
produces in your mind a belief that what is sought to be
proved is more likely true than not true. ...