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Sublett v. Green

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah Division

June 4, 2019




         Members 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.

         You 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.

         Your 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.

         The 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.

         Perform 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 consequences.

         You 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.

         You are 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.

         Another 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.

         You are required to evaluate the testimony of a corrections 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 corrections officer.

         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.

         INSTRUCTION NO. 1

         Burden of Proof

         The Plaintiff has the burden of proving his case against the Defendants by what is called a "preponderance of the evidence." This means that the Plaintiff has to produce evidence that, considered in light of all the facts, leads you to believe that what the Plaintiff claims is more likely true than not.

         The term "preponderance of the evidence" does not, of course, require proof to an absolute certainty, since proof to an absolute certainty is seldom possible in any case.

         In determining whether any fact in issue has been established by a preponderance of the evidence in the case, you may-unless otherwise instructed-consider the testimony of all witnesses, regardless of who may have called them, and all exhibits received into evidence, regardless of who may have produced them.

         You may have heard of the term "proof beyond a reasonable doubt." That is a stricter standard applicable in criminal cases. It does not apply in civil cases, such as this one. Therefore, you should disregard it.

         INSTRUCTION NO. 2

         Multiple Defendants

         Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, before I instruct you as to the law in this case, I want to point out something about having multiple defendants in one case. As you have heard and seen during this trial, there are three Defendants in this case. And while the Plaintiff has only presented two different legal claims, Plaintiff has made factual allegations against each Defendant.

         It is crucial that you, the jury, give separate consideration to each claim and each party in this case. Although there are three defendants, it does not follow that if one is liable, then another is liable, or that all are liable. Conversely, it does not follow that if one is not liable, then another is not liable, and so on.

         I will discuss the elements, or parts, of each of Plaintiff s claims below. But it is important for you to keep these incidents and claims separate, and to apply them only to the Defendant against whom the Plaintiff has brought that individual claim.

         INSTRUCTION ...

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