CACI 5000 Duties of the Judge and Jury

California Civil Jury Instructions CACI

5000 Duties of the Judge and Jury

Members of the jury, you have now heard all the evidence [and the closing arguments of the attorneys]. [The attorneys will have one last chance to talk to you in closing argument. But before they do, it] [It] is my duty to instruct you on the law that applies to this case. You must follow these instructions [as well as those that I previously gave you]. You will have a copy of my instructions with you when you go to the jury room to deliberate. [I have provided each of you with your own copy of the instructions.] [I will display each instruction on the screen.]

You must decide what the facts are. You must consider all the evidence and then decide what you think happened. You must decide the facts based on the evidence admitted in this trial.

Do not allow anything that happens outside this courtroom to affect your decision. Do not talk about this case or the people involved in it with anyone, including family and persons living in your household, friends and coworkers, spiritual leaders, advisors, or therapists. Do not do any research on your own or as a group. Do not use dictionaries or other reference materials.

These prohibitions on communications and research extend to all forms of electronic communications. Do not use any electronic devices or media, such as a cell phone or smart phone, PDA, computer, tablet device, the Internet, any Internet service, any text or instant-messaging service, any Internet chat room, blog, or website, including social networking websites or online diaries, to send or receive any information to or from anyone about this case or your experience as a juror until after you have been discharged from your jury duty.

Do not investigate the case or conduct any experiments. Do not contact anyone to assist you, such as a family accountant, doctor, or lawyer. Do not visit or view the scene of any event involved in this case. If you happen to pass by the scene, do not stop or investigate. All jurors must see or hear the same evidence at the same time. [Do not read, listen to, or watch any news accounts of this trial.] You must not let bias, sympathy, prejudice, or public opinion influence your decision.

[If you violate any of these prohibitions on communications and research, including prohibitions on electronic communications and research, you may be held in contempt of court or face other sanctions. That means that you may have to serve time in jail, pay a fine, or face other punishment for that violation.]

I will now tell you the law that you must follow to reach your verdict. You must follow the law exactly as I give it to you, even if you disagree with it. If the attorneys [have said/say] anything different about what the law means, you must follow what I say.

In reaching your verdict, do not guess what I think your verdict should be from something I may have said or done.

Pay careful attention to all the instructions that I give you. All the instructions are important because together they state the law that you will use in this case. You must consider all of the instructions together.

After you have decided what the facts are, you may find that some instructions do not apply. In that case, follow the instructions that do apply and use them together with the facts to reach your verdict.

If I repeat any ideas or rules of law during my instructions, that does not mean that these ideas or rules are more important than the others. In addition, the order in which the instructions are given does not make any difference.

[Most of the instructions are typed. However, some handwritten or typewritten words may have been added, and some words may have been deleted. Do not discuss or consider why words may have been added or deleted. Please treat all the words the same, no matter what their format. Simply accept the instruction in its final form.]

New September 2003; Revised April 2004, October 2004, February 2005, December 2009, June 2011, December 2013

Crowdsource Lawyers

Directions for Use

As indicated by the brackets in the first paragraph, this instruction can be read either before or after closing arguments. The advisory committee recommends that this instruction be read to the jury before reading instructions on the substantive law.

Sources and Authority

Charge to the Jury. Code of Civil Procedure section 608.

Contempt of Court for Juror Misconduct. Code of Civil Procedure section 1209(a)(6).

Jury as Trier of Fact. Evidence Code section 312(a).

An instruction to disregard any appearance of bias on the part of the judge is proper. (Gist v. French (1955) 136 Cal.App.2d 247, 257–259 [288 P.2d 1003], disapproved on other grounds in Deshotel v. Atchinson, Topeka & Santa Fe Ry. Co. (1958) 50 Cal.2d 664, 667 [328 P.2d 449] and West v. City of San Diego (1960) 54 Cal.2d 469, 478–479 [6 Cal.Rptr. 289, 353 P.2d 929].)

Jurors must avoid bias: “ ‘The right to unbiased and unprejudiced jurors is an inseparable and inalienable part of the right to trial by jury guaranteed by the constitution.’ ” (Weathers v. Kaiser Foundation Hospitals (1971) 5 Cal.3d 98, 110 [95 Cal.Rptr. 516, 485 P.2d 1132], internal citations omitted.) Evidence of racial prejudice and bias on the part of jurors amounts to misconduct and may constitute grounds for ordering a new trial. (Ibid.)

An instruction to consider all the instructions together can help avoid instructional errors of conflict, omission, and undue emphasis. (Escamilla v. Marshburn Brothers (1975) 48 Cal.App.3d 472, 484 [121 Cal.Rptr. 891].)

Providing an instruction stating that, depending on what the jury finds to be the facts, some of the instructions may not apply can help avoid reversal on the grounds of misleading jury instructions. (See Rodgers v. Kemper Construction Co. (1975) 50 Cal.App.3d 608, 629–630 [124 Cal.Rptr. 143].)

“[T]he jury was charged that (1) no undue emphasis was intended by repetition of any rule, direction or idea; (2) instructions on the measure of damages should not be interpreted to mean that liability must be found; and (3) the judge did not intend to intimate how any issue should be decided and if any juror believed such intimation was present such should be disregarded. Of course such admonitions will not salvage an inherently one-sided charge although the giving of such instructions should be considered in weighing the net effect of the charge.” (Bertero v. National General Corp. (1974) 13 Cal.3d 43, 57 [118 Cal.Rptr. 184, 529 P.2d 608].)

Secondary Sources

7 Witkin, California Procedure (5th ed. 2008) Trial, § 281
Wegner et al., California Practice Guide: Civil Trials & Evidence, Ch. 14-D, Preparing Jury Instructions, ¶¶ 14:151, 14:190 (The Rutter Group)
4 California Trial Guide, Unit 91, Jury Deliberations and Rendition of Verdict, § 91.20 (Matthew Bender)
28 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 326, Jury Instructions, § 326.21 (Matthew Bender)
1 Matthew Bender Practice Guide: California Trial and Post-Trial Civil Procedure, Ch. 16, Jury Instructions, 16.19 et seq.
California Judges Benchbook: Civil Proceedings—Trial §§ 12.6, 13.27 (Cal CJER 2019)