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United States v. Patterson

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

June 21, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
STEPHEN M. PATTERSON, JR.

          JURY INSTRUCTIONS

         INTRODUCTION

         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 criminal 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 parties of equal standing in the community, of equal worth, and holding the same or similar stations in the community. All parties 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. 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.

         Some of you may have taken notes during the trial. An individual juror may use notes to refresh his or her memory of evidence presented at trial, but the notes should not be relied upon as definitive fact or as evidence. Juror notes have no greater weight than memory, and note-aided and nonaided memory are of equal significance. Jurors should not be influenced by another juror's notes.

         Once you start deliberating, do not talk to the jury officer, or to me, 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 jury officer. The officer will give them to me, and I will respond as soon as I can. I may have to talk to the lawyers about what you have asked, so it may take some time to get back to you. Any questions or messages normally should be sent to me through your foreperson. 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.

         Your verdict or answer to any question must be unanimous. That is, all twelve (12) members of the jury must agree on any answer to the question and verdict.

         It is your duty as jurors to consult with one another and to deliberate with a view to reaching an agreement, if you can do so without violence to the individual judgment. You must each decide this case for yourself, but only after an impartial consideration of the evidence of the case with your fellow jurors. In the course of your deliberations, do not hesitate to reexamine your own views and change your opinion, if you are convinced it is erroneous. But do not surrender your honest conviction as to the weight or effect of the evidence, solely because of the opinion of your fellow jurors, or for the mere purpose of returning a verdict.

         INSTRUCTION NO. 1

         PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE AND BURDEN OF PROOF

         The defendant has pleaded not guilty to the crime charged in the indictment. The indictment is not any evidence at all of guilt. It is just the formal way that the government tells the defendant what crime he is accused of committing. It does not even raise any suspicion of guilt.

         Instead, the defendant starts the trial with a clean slate, with no evidence at all against him, and the law presumes that he is innocent. This presumption of innocence stays with him unless the government presents evidence here in court that overcomes the presumption and convinces you beyond a reasonable doubt that he is guilty.

         The government must prove every element of the crime 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 and act 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, say so by returning a ...


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