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Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

1.2-4 Outline of the Trial

Revised to December 1, 2007

The procedure of the trial is as follows:

After I finish this instruction, the state will present its evidence.1

Then the defendant may present evidence. The defendant has no legal obligation to present evidence. The law does not require a defendant to prove (his/her) innocence or to produce any evidence. If the defendant does present evidence, the state may then present rebuttal evidence if it so chooses.

When all evidence has been presented to you, the lawyers will then make their argument to you. Bear in mind that argument is not evidence; you may consider argument of counsel during your deliberations, but it is not evidence.

Under our rules, the state argues first; then the defendant through counsel argues; and the state argues a second time. But the defendant does not argue a second time. Each counsel is given the same amount of time for argument; it is only the state that breaks its argument in two parts.

When arguments are completed, I will then instruct you as to the law that you must apply in this case.

At the conclusion of the instructions, I will send you to the jury room to begin your deliberations. That is the first time you will discuss this case with anyone. Up until that time you will not discuss this case with anyone -- not even each other.

Once deliberations start, all deliberations must be conducted in the jury room only when all jurors are present. When you deliberate, you apply the facts that you find to the law as I instruct you to reach your verdict. Your verdict must be unanimous.

1 If the parties will be making opening statements, note that here with an explanation that such statements are not evidence, but merely a brief overview of the evidence that the jury will hear.


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