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Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

Introduction

Preliminary instructions serve the important function of orienting the jurors to the nature of the trial to come. It is helpful to explain at the very start the nature and scope of the jury's duty, some of the basic ground rules and the issues to be decided. Introductory remarks and instructions should be limited to basic legal principles that inform the jurors or prospective jurors of their responsibilities and obligations as jurors and that guide them in fulfilling those responsibilities and obligations. See State v. Faust, 237 Conn. 454, 460-61 (1996).

"A preinstruction . . . in the form of an indoctrination film, is permissible to provide preliminary instruction to prospective jurors." State v. Beall, 61 Conn. App. 430, 440, cert. denied, 255 Conn. 954 (2001).

The court should never provide "information to the jury regarding the consequences of a guilty verdict, or about the sentencing process." State v. Makee R., 306 Conn. 371, 384 (2012).

The court is required to instruct newly selected jurors on their responsibilities to avoid publicity about the case and any communication with others concerning the facts of the case. Kervick v. Silver Hills Hospital, 309 Conn. 688 (2013). See Supplemental Instruction for Selected Jurors and Alternates, Instruction 1.1-6.



 

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