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Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

1.2-6 Evidence

Revised to December 1, 2007

You will decide what the facts are from the evidence that will be presented in this courtroom. That evidence will consist of the testimony of witnesses, documents and other material admitted into evidence as exhibits, and any facts on which the lawyers agree or that I may instruct you to accept.

The following are not evidence and you must not consider them as evidence in deciding the facts of this case:

  • statements and arguments by the attorneys,
  • questions and objections of the attorneys, and
  • testimony that I instruct you to disregard.

There are two kinds of evidence: direct and circumstantial. Direct evidence is testimony by a witness about what that witness personally saw or heard or did. Circumstantial evidence is indirect evidence; that is, it is evidence from which you can infer another fact. As an example: if you wake up in the morning and see that the sidewalk is wet, you may infer that it rained during the night. The wet sidewalk is circumstantial evidence that it rained. Other evidence, however, may provide another explanation for the water on the sidewalk, such as a garden hose that was left on overnight. Therefore, before you decide that a fact has been proved by circumstantial evidence, you must consider all the evidence in the light of reason, experience and common sense.

In deciding this case, you may consider both direct and circumstantial evidence. The law permits you to give equal weight to both, but it is for you to decide how much weight to give to any evidence.

Some evidence may be admitted for a limited purpose only. When I instruct you that a piece of evidence has been admitted for a limited purpose, you must consider it only for that purpose and for no other.

 


 

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