CACI 5013 Deadlocked Jury Admonition

California Civil Jury Instructions CACI

5013 Deadlocked Jury Admonition

You should reach a verdict if you reasonably can. You have spent time trying to reach a verdict, and this case is important to the parties so that they can move on with their lives with this matter resolved.

[If you are unable to reach a verdict, the case will have to be tried before another jury selected in the same manner and from the same community from which you were chosen and at additional cost to everyone.]

Please carefully consider the opinions of all the jurors, including those with whom you disagree. Keep an open mind and feel free to change your opinion if you become convinced that it is wrong.

You should not, however, surrender your beliefs concerning the truth and the weight of the evidence. Each of you must decide the case for yourself and not merely go along with the conclusions of your fellow jurors.

Directions for Use

Give the optional second paragraph if desired. Similar language has been found to be noncoercive in a civil case as long as it is accompanied by language such as that included in the last paragraph of the instruction. (See Inouye v. Pacific Southwest Airlines (1981) 126 Cal.App.3d 648, 650–652 [179 Cal.Rptr. 13]; cf. People v. Gainer (1977) 19 Cal. 3d 835, 852 [139 Cal.Rptr. 861, 566 P.2d 997] [in criminal case, it is error for a trial court to give an instruction that states or implies that if the jury fails to agree, the case will necessarily be retried].)

Sources and Authority

Deadlocked Jury. Rule 2.1036 of the California Rules of Court.

“The court told the jury they should reach a verdict if they reasonably could; they should not surrender their conscious convictions of the truth and the weight of the evidence; each juror must decide the case for himself and not merely acquiesce in the conclusion of his fellows; the verdict should represent the opinion of each individual juror; and in reaching a verdict each juror should not violate his individual judgment and conscience. These remarks clearly outweighed any offensive portions of the charge. The court did not err in giving the challenged instruction.” (Inouye, supra, 126 Cal.App.3d at p. 652.)

“A trial court may properly advise a jury of the importance of arriving at a verdict and of the duty of individual jurors to hear and consider each other’s arguments with open minds, rather than to prevent agreement by obstinate adherence to first impressions. But, as the exclusive right to agree or not to agree rests with the jury, the judge may not tell them that they must agree nor may he harry their deliberations by coercive threats or disparaging remarks.” (Cook v. Los Angeles Ry. Corp. (1939) 13 Cal.2d 591, 594 [91 P.2d 118], internal citations omitted.)

“Only when the instruction has coerced the jurors into surrendering their conscientious convictions in order to reach agreement should the verdict be overturned.” (Inouye, supra, 126 Cal.App.3d at p. 651.)

“The instruction says if the jury did not reach a verdict, the case would have to be retried. It also says the jurors should listen with deference to the arguments and distrust their own judgment if they find a large majority taking a different view of the case. In a criminal case the mere presence of these remarks in a jury instruction is error. However, civil cases are subject to different considerations; the special protections given criminal defendants are absent.” (Inouye, supra, 126 Cal.App.3d at p. 651, internal citation omitted.)

Secondary Sources

7 Witkin, California Procedure (5th ed. 2008) Trial, § 281
Wegner et al., California Practice Guide: Civil Trials & Evidence, Ch. 15-D, Juror Requests For Additional Information During Deliberations, ¶ 15:137 et seq. (The Rutter Group)
1 Matthew Bender Practice Guide: California Trial and Post-Trial Civil Procedure, Ch. 17, Dealing With the Jury, 17.39
California Judges Benchbook: Civil Proceedings—Trial § 13.43 (Cal CJER 2019)