CACI 5019 Questions From Jurors

California Civil Jury Instructions CACI

5019 Questions From Jurors

If, during the trial, any of you had a question that you believed should be asked of a witness, you were instructed to write out the question and provide it to me through my courtroom staff. I shared your questions with the attorneys, after which, I decided whether the question could be asked.

If a question was asked and answered, you are to consider the answer as you would any other evidence received in the trial. Do not give the answer any greater or lesser weight because it was initiated by a juror question.

If the question was not asked, do not speculate as to what the answer might have been or why it was not asked. There are many legal reasons why a suggested question cannot be asked of a witness. Give the question no further consideration.

Directions for Use

This is an optional instruction for use if the jurors will be allowed to ask questions of the witnesses. For a similar instruction to be given at the beginning of the trial, see CACI No. 112, Questions From Jurors. This instruction may be modified to account for an individual judge’s practice.

Sources and Authority

Juror Questions Allowed. Rule 2.1033 of the California Rules of Court.

“In a proper case there may be a real benefit from allowing jurors to submit questions under proper control by the court. However, in order to permit the court to exercise its discretion and maintain control of the trial, the correct procedure is to have the juror write the questions for consideration by the court and counsel prior to their submission to the witness.” (People v. McAlister (1985) 167 Cal.App.3d 633, 644 [213 Cal.Rptr. 271].)

“[T]he judge has discretion to ask questions submitted by jurors or to pass those questions on and leave to the discretion of counsel whether to ask the questions.” (People v. Cummings (1993) 4 Cal.4th 1233, 1305 [18 Cal.Rptr.2d 796, 850 P.2d 1].)

“The appellant urges that when jurymen ask improper questions the defendant is placed in the delicate dilemma of either allowing such question to go in without objection or of offending the jurors by making the objection and the appellant insists that the court of its own motion should check the putting of such improper questions by the jurymen, and thus relieve the party injuriously affected thereby from the odium which might result from making that objection thereto. There is no force in this contention. Objections to questions, whether asked by a juror or by opposing counsel, are presented to the court, and its ruling thereon could not reasonably affect the rights or standing of the party making the objection before the jury in the one case more than in the other.” (Maris v. H. Crummey, Inc. (1921) 55 Cal.App. 573, 578–579 [204 P. 259].)

Secondary Sources

3 Witkin, California Evidence (5th ed. 2012) Presentation at Trial, § 97
Wegner et al., California Practice Guide: Civil Trials & Evidence, Ch. 7-E, Juror Questioning of Witnesses, ¶ 7:45.10 et seq. (The Rutter Group)
4 California Trial Guide, Unit 91, Jury Deliberations and Rendition of Verdict, §§ 91.01–91.03 (Matthew Bender)