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The Importance of Jury Instructions - An Overview

At the end, and frequently at the beginning of each trial, the judge will instruct the jury regarding the law and how they are to deliberate and reach a verdict. The judge appears to be providing this information based on his wisdom and experience. However, the information stated to the jury is carefully crafted and written in a set of "jury instructions". Each jurisdiction in each state, and the District of Columbia , have their own jury instructions. However, there are certain standard jury instructions that are substantially similar and serve as a set of instructions for jury function in all of the local jurisdictions. Experienced trial lawyers know and understand the basis for all jury instructions. Experienced trial lawyers at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. utilize the content of jury instructions when they formulate their arguments to the jury and their questions to a witness. An understanding of the jury instructions by a trial lawyer distinguishes the Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. trial lawyers. Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. trial lawyers know their way around the courtroom and are comfortable with the processes. We spend considerable time going through important concepts contained in the jury instructions and the burden of proof in a civil case. The burden of proof in a civil case is a "preponderance of the evidence". That means that the party who is making the claim must prove that their view of what took place is more likely true than not. In other words, a preponderance of the evidence is often analogized to the duty. A trial lawyer must carry his client's ball down the field and breaking the plane of the 50 yard line crossing over into his opponent's territory. Any amount of the ball crossing over the 50 yard line is enough to prove that you have carried the ball more than half of the football field. That is a preponderance of the yardage on a football field. A preponderance of the evidence means that you have the greater weight of the evidence, irrespective of how much beyond 50% of the weight it is.