United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
instructions will be in three parts: first, general rules
that define and control your duties as jurors; second, the
rules of law that you must apply in deciding whether the
Government has proven its case; and third, some rules for
your deliberations. A copy of these instructions will be
available for you in the jury room.
GENERAL RULES CONCERNING JURY DUTIES
your duty to find the facts from all the evidence in the
case. You must apply the law to those facts. You must follow
the law I give to you whether you agree with it or not. And
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 and
according to the law, as you gave your oaths to do at the
beginning of this case.
following my instructions, you must follow all of them and
not single out some and ignore others; they are all equally
important. And you must not read into these instructions, or
into anything I may have said or done, any suggestion as to
what verdict you should return -- that is a matter entirely
for you to decide.
lawyers may refer to some of the governing rules of law in
their arguments. However, if any differences appear to you
between the law as stated by the lawyers and what I state in
these instructions, you are to be governed solely by my
defendant is presumed innocent. The presumption of innocence
remains with him unless the government presents evidence that
overcomes the presumption and convinces you beyond a
reasonable doubt that he is guilty. The defendant has no
obligation to present any evidence at all or to prove to you
in any way that he is innocent. You must find the defendant
not guilty unless the government convinces you beyond a
reasonable doubt that he is guilty.
government must prove every element of the crimes charged
beyond a reasonable doubt. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt
does not mean proof beyond all possible doubt. Possible
doubts or doubts based purely on speculation are not
reasonable doubts. A reasonable doubt is a doubt based on
reason and common sense. It may arise from the evidence, the
lack of evidence, or the nature of the evidence. Proof beyond
a reasonable doubt means proof which is so convincing that
you would not hesitate to rely on it in making the most
important decisions in your own lives. If you are convinced
that the government has proved the defendant guilty beyond a
reasonable doubt, then say so by returning a guilty verdict.
If you are not convinced, then say so by returning a not
evidence from which you are to decide what the facts are
consists of (I) the sworn testimony of witnesses both on
direct and cross-examination, regardless of who called the
witness; (2) the exhibits that have been received into
evidence; and (3) any facts to which the lawyers have agreed
or stipulated to or that have been judicially noticed.
IS NOT EVIDENCE
must remember that the indictment is not evidence of any
guilt. It is simply the formal way the government tells the
defendant what crime he is accused of committing. It does not
even raise any suspicion of guilt and you may not consider it
as such. Furthermore, the following things are not evidence
and you may not consider them in deciding what the facts are:
1) Arguments and statements by lawyers are not evidence;
2) Questions and objections by lawyers are not evidence;
3) Testimony I have instructed you to disregard is not
4) Anything you may have seen or heard when the Court was not
in session is not evidence.
want to explain something about proving a defendant's
state of mind.
there is no way that a defendant's state of mind can be
proved directly, because no one can read another person's
mind and tell what that person is thinking.
defendant's state of mind can be proved indirectly from
the surrounding circumstances. This includes things like what
the defendant said, what the defendant did, how the defendant
acted, and any other facts or circumstances in evidence that
show what was in the defendant's mind.
also consider the natural and probable results of any acts
that the defendant knowingly did, and whether it is
reasonable to conclude that the defendant intended those
results. This, of course, is all for you to decide.
AND CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE
are two kinds of evidence: direct and circumstantial. Direct
evidence is direct proof of a fact, such as testimony of an
eyewitness. Circumstantial evidence is indirect evidence,
that is, proof of a fact or chain of facts from which you
could draw the inference, by reason and common sense, that
another fact exists, even though it has not been proven
directly. You are entitled to consider both kinds of
evidence. The law permits you to give equal weight to both,
but it is for you to decide how much weight to give to any
deciding what the facts are, you must consider all of the
evidence. In doing this, you must decide which testimony to
believe and which testimony not to believe. You may
disbelieve all or any part of any witness's testimony.
You might want to take into consideration such factors as the
witnesses' conduct and demeanor while testifying; their
apparent fairness or any bias or prejudice they may have; any
interest you may discern that they may have in the outcome of
the case; their opportunities for seeing and knowing the
things about which they have testified; the reasonableness or
unreasonableness of the events that they have related to you
in their testimony; and any other facts or circumstances
disclosed by the evidence that tend to corroborate or
contradict their versions of the events.
deciding whether to believe a witness, keep in mind that
people sometimes forget things. You need to consider,
therefore, whether a contradiction is an innocent lapse of
memory or an intentional falsehood, and that may depend on
whether it has to do with an important fact or with only a
weight of the evidence presented by each side does not
necessarily depend on the number of witnesses testifying on
one side or the other. You must consider all the evidence in
the case, and you may decide that the testimony of a smaller
number of witnesses on one side has greater weight than that
of a larger number on the other or vice versa.
should use your common sense in weighing the evidence.
Consider it in light of your everyday experience with people
and events, and give it whatever weight you believe it
deserves. If your experience tells you that certain evidence
reasonably leads to a conclusion, you are free to reach that
these are matters for you to consider in deciding the facts.
have heard testimony from persons who have testified as an
opinion witness. You do not have to accept the opinion. In
deciding how much weight to give it, you should consider the
witness's qualifications and how the witness reached his
or her conclusions. Also consider the other factors discussed
in these instructions for weighing the credibility of
that you alone decide how much of a witness's testimony
to believe, and how much weight it deserves.
ELECTION NOT TO ...