United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville
COURT'S INSTRUCTIONS TO THE JURY
of the Jury:
now my duty to instruct you on the rules of law that you must
follow and apply in deciding this case. When I have finished
you will go to the jury room and begin your deliberations.
be your duty to decide whether the United States has proved
beyond a reasonable doubt the specific facts necessary to
find the defendant guilty of the crimes charged in the
must make your decision only on the basis of the testimony
and other evidence presented here during the trial; and you
must not be influenced in any way by either sympathy or
prejudice for or against the defendant or the United States.
must also follow the law as I explain it to you whether you
agree with that law or not. You must follow all of the
instructions as a whole; you may not single out, or
disregard, any of the court's instructions on the law.
Indictment or formal charge against a defendant is not
evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed by the law to be
innocent. The law does not require a defendant to prove
innocence or produce any evidence at all. This means that the
defendant has no obligation to testify. Therefore, if the
defendant does not testify during a trial, you may not draw
any inference or suggestion of guilt from that fact, nor may
you consider this in any way in reaching your verdict. The
United States has the burden of proving the defendant guilty
beyond a reasonable doubt, and if it fails to do so you must
find the defendant not guilty.
the United States' burden of proof is a strict or heavy
burden, it is not necessary that a defendant's guilt be
proved beyond all possible doubt. It is only required that
the United States' proof exclude any "reasonable
doubt" concerning a defendant's guilt.
"reasonable doubt" is a doubt based upon reason and
common sense after careful and impartial consideration of all
the evidence in the case.
beyond a reasonable doubt, therefore, is proof of such a
convincing character that you would be willing to rely and
act upon it without hesitation in the most important of your
must consider only the evidence that I have admitted in the
case. The term "evidence" includes the testimony of
the witnesses and the exhibits admitted in the record.
Remember that anything the lawyers say is not evidence in the
case. It is your own recollection and interpretation of the
evidence that controls. What the lawyers say is not binding
considering the evidence you may make deductions and reach
conclusions which reason and common sense lead you to make.
You need not be concerned about whether the evidence is
direct or circumstantial. "Direct evidence" is the
testimony of one who asserts actual knowledge of a fact, such
as an eye witness. "Circumstantial evidence" is
proof of a chain of facts and circumstances indicating that
the defendant is either guilty or not guilty. The law makes
no distinction between the weight you may give to either
direct or circumstantial evidence.
saying that you must consider the evidence, I do not mean
that you must accept all of the evidence as true or accurate.
You should decide whether you believe what each witness had
to say, and how important that testimony was. In making that
decision you may believe or disbelieve any witness, in whole
or in part. Also, the number of witnesses testifying
concerning any particular dispute is not controlling.
deciding how much of a witness' testimony to believe, I
suggest that you ask yourself a few questions: Did the
witness impress you as one who was telling the truth? Did the
witness have any particular reason not to tell the truth or a
personal interest in the outcome of the case? Did the witness
have a good memory? Did the witness have the opportunity and
ability to observe accurately the things he or she testified
should also ask yourself whether there was evidence tending
to prove that the witness testified falsely concerning some
important fact; or, whether there was evidence that at some
other time the witness said or did something, or failed to
say or do ...