General Information

Nature of Indictment

Presumption of Innocence, Burden of Proof, Reasonable Doubt

Function of the Jury

Function of the Court

Judge's Questioning

Direct and Circumstantial Evidence

Credibility of Witnesses

False in One - False in All

Multiple Charges Where More Than One Defendant


Unanimous Verdict

Instructions as to Verdict Form

Jury Questions

Selecting Alternates

Appointing Foreperson

Swear in Sheriff's Officers

Alternate Juror Empaneled After Deliberations Begun

Further Jury Deliberations

Form for Taking a Verdict and Polling Jury



Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, the evidence in this case has been presented and the

attorneys have completed their summations. We now arrive at that time when you, as jurors, are to

perform your final function in this case.

At the outset, let me express my thanks and appreciation to you for your attention to this

case. I would like to commend counsel for the professional manner in which they have presented

their respective cases and for their courtesy to the court and jury during the course of this trial.

Before you retire to deliberate and reach your verdict, it is my obligation to instruct you as to

the principles of law applicable to this case. You shall consider my instructions in their entirety and

not pick out any particular instruction and overemphasize it.

You must accept and apply this law for this case as I give it to you in this charge. Any ideas

you have of what the law is or what the law should be or any statements by the attorneys as to what

the law may be, must be disregarded by you, if they are in conflict with my charge.

During the course of the trial, I was required to make certain rulings on the admissibility of

the evidence either in or outside of your presence. These rulings involved questions of law. The

comments of the attorneys on these matters were not evidence. In ruling, I have decided questions

of law and, whatever the ruling may have been in any particular instance, you should understand that

it was not an expression or opinion by me on the merits of the case. Neither should my other rulings

on any other aspect of the trial be taken as favoring one side or the other. Each matter was decided

on its own merits.

When I use the term "evidence" I mean the testimony you have heard and seen from this

witness box and the exhibits that have been admitted into evidence. Any testimony that I may have

had occasion to strike is not evidence and shall not enter in your final deliberations. It must be

disregarded by you. This means that even though you may remember the testimony you are not to

use it in your discussions or deliberations. Further, if I gave a limiting instruction as to how to use

certain evidence, that evidence must be considered by you for that purpose only. You cannot use it

for any other purpose.

As jurors, it is your duty to weigh the evidence calmly and without passion, prejudice or

sympathy. Any influence caused by these emotions has the potential to deprive both the State and

the defendant(s) of what you promised them - a fair and impartial trial by fair and impartial jurors.

Also, speculation, conjecture and other forms of guessing play no role in the performance of your




The defendant(s) stand(s) before you on an indictment returned by the grand jury charging

(him/her) with:

The indictment is not evidence of the defendant's guilt on the charge(s). An indictment is a

step in the procedure to bring the matter before the court and jury for the jury's ultimate

determination as to whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty on the charge(s) stated in it.

The defendant has pleaded not guilty to the charge(s).



The defendant on trial is presumed to be innocent and unless each and every essential

element of an offense charged is proved beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant must be found not

guilty of that charge.

The burden of proving each element of a charge beyond a reasonable doubt rests upon the

State and that burden never shifts to the defendant. The defendant in a criminal case has no

obligation or duty to prove his/her innocence or offer any proof relating to his/her innocence.

The prosecution must prove its case by more than a mere preponderance of the evidence, yet

not necessarily to an absolute certainty.

The State has the burden of proving the defendant guilty be

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Kenneth Vercammen, Esq., Kenneth Vercammen & Associates, PC | Attorney Advertising

Written by:


Kenneth Vercammen & Associates, PC on:

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