United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah 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
parties have proven their claims; and third, some rules for
your deliberations. A copy of these instructions will be
available to you in the jury room.
GENERAL RULES CONCERNING JURY DUTY
have two main duties as jurors. The first one 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, and 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,
apply it to the facts, and decide if the plaintiff has proven
the defendant liable on the claim by a preponderance of the
evidence and if the defendant has proven the plaintiff liable
on the counterclaim by a preponderance of the evidence.
my job to instruct you about the law, and you are bound by
the oath that 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 before and during the trial, and these
instructions. All the instructions are important, and you
should consider them together as a whole. The lawyers 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.
must make your decision based only on the evidence that you
saw and heard here in court. Do not let rumors, suspicions,
or anything else that you may have seen or heard outside of
court influence your decision in any way. The evidence in
this case includes only what the witnesses said while they
were testifying under oath; the exhibits that I allowed into
evidence; and the stipulations that the lawyers agreed to.
else is evidence. The lawyers' statements and arguments
are not evidence. Their questions and objections are not
evidence. My legal rulings are not evidence. And my comments
and questions are not evidence.
the trial I did not let you hear the answers to some of the
questions that the lawyers asked. Sometimes I ordered you to
disregard things that you saw or heard, or I struck things
from the record. You must completely ignore all of these
things. Do not even think about them. Do not speculate about
what a witness might have said or what an exhibit might have
shown. These things are not evidence, and you are bound by
your oath not to let them influence your decision in any way.
your decision based only on the evidence, as I have defined
it here, and nothing else.
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
Credibility of Witnesses
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.
suggest some things for you to consider in evaluating each
(a) Ask yourself if the witness was able to clearly see or
hear the events. Sometimes even an honest witness may not
have been able to see or hear what was . happening, and may
make a mistake.
(b) Ask yourself how good the witness's memory seemed to
be. Did the witness seem able to accurately remember what
(c) Ask yourself if there was anything else that may have
interfered with the witness's ability to perceive or
remember the events.
(d) Ask yourself how the witness acted while testifying. Did
the witness appear honest? Or did the witness appear to be
(e) Ask yourself if the witness had any relationship to the
plaintiff or the defendant, or anything to gain or lose from
the case that might influence the witness's testimony.
Ask yourself if the witness had any bias, or prejudice, or
reason for testifying that might cause the witness to lie or
to slant the testimony in favor of one side or the other.
(f) And ask yourself how believable the witness's
testimony was in light of all the other evidence. Was the
witness's testimony supported or contradicted by other
evidence that you found believable? If you believe that a
witness's testimony was contradicted by other evidence,
remember that people sometimes forget things, and that even
two honest people who witness the same event may not describe
it exactly the same way.
are only some of the things that you may consider in deciding
how believable each witness was. You may also 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
more important point about witnesses. Sometimes jurors wonder
if the number of witnesses who testified makes any
difference. Do not make any decisions based solely on the
number of witnesses who testified. What is more important is
how believable the witnesses were, and how much weight you
think their testimony deserves. Concentrate on that, not the
is one more general subject that I want to talk to you about
before I begin explaining the elements of the plaintiffs
claims. The lawyers for both sides objected to some of the
things that were said or done during the trial. Do not hold
that against either side. The lawyers have a duty to object
whenever they think that something is not permitted by the
rules of evidence. Those rules are designed to make sure that
both sides receive a fair trial.
interpret my rulings on their objections as any indication of
how I think the case should be decided. My rulings were based
on the rules of evidence, not on how I feel about the case.
Remember that your decision must be based only on the
evidence that you saw and heard here in court.
first thing you should do in the jury room is choose someone
to be your foreperson. This person will help to guide your
discussions, and will speak for you here in court. Once you
start deliberating, do not talk to the jury officer, or to
me, or to anyone else except each other about the case.
have any questions or messages, you must write them down on a
piece of paper, sign them, and then 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 me some time to get back
to you. Any questions or messages normally should be sent to
me through your foreperson. One more thing about messages. Do
not ever write down or tell anyone, including me, how you
stand on your votes. For example, do not write down or tell
anyone that you are split 4-3, or 3-4, or whatever your vote
happens to be. That should stay secret until you are
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