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NCJ Number: 69522 Find in a Library
Title: WHY AND HOW TO INSTRUCT A JURY
Journal: JOURNAL OF MISSOURI BAR  Volume:36  Dated:(MARCH 1980)  Pages:78-91
Author(s): J C MILHOLLAND
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 14
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: AN ARTICLE EXPANDING UPON SECTIONS OF THE STATE OF MISSOURI'S INSTRUCTION BOOK RELATING TO JURY INSTRUCTION IS PRESENTED: INTENDED FOR USE BY ATTORNEYS, THE TOPICS INCLUDE SELECTION, PREPARATION, AND TENDER.
Abstract: INSTRUCTIONS MUST BE GIVEN TO JURIES TO EXPLAIN HOW ITS DECISION OF THE FACTS THEY WILL HAVE HEARD DISPUTED DURING THE TRIAL AFFECTS THE OUTCOME. THE FIRST REASON FOR COMPULSORY USE OF MISSOURI ANNOTATED INSTRUCTIONS (MAI'S) IS THE NEED FOR SIMPLICITY. IF A PROVIDED MAI IS APPLICABLE IT MUST BE USED. IF THERE IS NO MAI SPECIFICALLY APPLICABLE TO THE CASE, THE FORM OF THE MAI MUST BE USED. THE SECOND REASON FOR COMPULSORY MAI USE IS THE NEED FOR CONSISTENT CLARITY AND ACCURACY OF THOUGHT. JURY INSTRUCTIONS SHOULD TRANSLATE COMPLICATED LEGAL CONCEPTS INTO CLEAR, EASILY UNDERSTOOD LANGUAGE. IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT THE ATTORNEY UNDERSTAND THE PLEADINGS AND EVIDENCE BEFORE INSTRUCTION PREPARATION. SOME LAWYERS CHECK OFF THEIR PLEADINGS AGAINST MAI'S BEFORE FILING. MAI'S ARE VALUABLE TOOLS IN CLARIFYING THE ATTORNEY'S UNDERSTANDING OF THE LAW BECAUSE EACH ELEMENT OF THE CLAIM MUST BE CONSIDERED AND EACH INSTRUCTION MUST CONFORM. SELECTION OF INSTRUCTIONS IS A THREE-PART TASK. FIRST, THERE ARE INSTRUCTIONS WHICH MUST BE GIVEN IN EVERY CASE; THOSE ARE MANDATORY INSTRUCTIONS, AND OMISSION OF THEM CONSTITUTES ERROR. SECOND, THERE ARE INSTRUCTIONS WHICH MUST BE GIVEN ACCORDING TO THE PARTICULAR CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE. THIRD, THE FORMAT OF MAI IS MANDATORY FOR THE INSTRUCTIONS WHICH FALL WITHIN THE DISCRETION OF COUNSEL TO DRAFT. ONLY THE ULTIMATE DISPUTED FACTS SHOULD BE HYPOTHESIZED IN THE INSTRUCTIONS. EARLY PREPARATION OF INSTRUCTIONS IS RECOMMENDED. ACTUAL TENDER OF INSTRUCTIONS TO THE COURT WILL DEPEND UPON THE TRIAL JUDGE. ORDINARILY, THE JUDGE WILL ASK FOR INSTRUCTIONS DURING THE INSTRUCTION CONFERENCE AS HE WANTS TO CONSIDERTHEM.
Index Term(s): Attorneys; Jury decisionmaking; Jury instructions; Missouri; Trial procedures
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=69522

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