Thursday, September 20, 2007

Spector Jury Gets New Instructions

Just a few minutes ago, the Spector jury were read new instructions, and are sent back into the jury room to begin deliberation again.

Here is an unofficial transcript of the new instructions given to the jurors. Special thanks to Court TV poster Blogger who offered their transcription of the modified instruction CalCrim 520, on murder.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm now going to attempt to answer the questions that you had the other day. I'm going to be reading some additional instructions to you, repeating an instruction and hopefully, that will be able to cover all the areas that you had concerns of, concerns with.

The question of whether the instruction should be, one instruction; I think it was actually you were concerned with, special number three. And I'm going to instruct you on special number three in a second. But I just want to just, and I think this will also apply to another question that you had. I'm going to reread to you just from the very first instruction that I gave you, CalCrim 200.

Pay careful attention to all of these instructions, and consider them, together. Okay? That's the first thing that I will instruct you which would answer question number one. Your second question, concerns, special instruction three and I'm going to get to that, in just a moment. Your third question was whether in determining the weight of the evidence, the totality of the evidence should be considered, or the weight of one specific instruction. And again, I will instruct you from CalCrim 200, that you are to pay careful attention to all of the instructions, and consider them, together. Okay? I think that will answer your fourth question which had to do with totality.

Question number five, on whether you can view the clothing articles on a mannequin, the answer to that is no for two reasons. Number one, the clothing is no longer in the condition that it was, when the relevant matters took place. And number two, the clothing is not in evidence, and you may not view items that are not in evidence. The pictures are in evidence, there have been explanations given and you are bound by that. So you will not be given the clothing that was not introduced into evidence to view.

Question number six. The jurors are having problems with the concept of reasonable doubt, and I will simply, I'm going to reread to you the reasonable doubt instruction. They moved the, when we changed instructions from what was then known as CalJur to CalCrim they moved the reasonable doubt instruction. I used to know right were to look for it.

The fact that a criminal charge has been filed against the defendant is not evidence that the charge is true. You must not be biased against the defendant just because he has been arrested, charged with a crime, or brought to trial. A defendant in a criminal case is presumed to be innocent. This presumption, requires that the people prove a defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Whenever I tell you the people must prove something, I mean they must prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, unless I specifically tell you otherwise. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is proof that leaves you, with an abiding conviction that the charge is true. The evidence need not eliminate all possible doubt, because everything in life is open to some possible or imaginary doubt. In deciding whether the people have proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt, you must impartially compare and consider all the evidence that was received throughout the entire trial. Unless the evidence proves the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, he is entitled to an acquittal, and you must find him not guilty.

You asked, the next question you asked, was whether it is appropriate for one juror to believe a fact is reasonable, while another believes the fact to be unreasonable, in such a case, with that situation, make the juror unreasonable, the answer is no. If one juror finds the evidence, and concludes there is a reasonable doubt based on that evidence, it does not mean that juror is being unreasonable because others disagree with he or she, him or her, pardon me. Each juror decides for themselves whether there is a reasonable doubt, on any element, or any other aspect with that as what you are applying. It applies to each juror individually. Course you talk to each other and you come to, you know, you discuss matters, and you may decide, whether or not a doubt is reasonable or possible or whatever. But the fact that one juror differs from the other, that does not make that juror unreasonable. Okay?

The next question dealt with instruction number three. I'm about to give you a special instruction on that. And that is, as far as this is now special instruction number six. During our discussion yesterday, one or more of you sought clarification of an elaboration on the meaning of special instruction number three. Upon reflection, I have decided that the other instructions I have given you adequately state the principles of law you are to apply in deciding this case. Rather than attempt to further explain special instruction number three, I am withdrawing it. You therefore are to rely on the remaining instructions in your deliberations from this point forward. In withdrawing special instruction number three from your consideration, I do not intend to comment in any way on the correctness of the individual or collective opinions expressed by you in your deliberations to this point, nor do I intend to suggest anything about what opinions each of you should express or positions you should take in any further deliberations. In your deliberations from this point forward, do not consider, the now withdrawn special instruction number three. Treat it as though, you had never heard of it.

I'm also now going to read you, uh, we're going to modify, and have modified, CalCrim 520, which is the instruction on murder. I'll ask that you listen to it because the language is now different. And at some point we will get you at least one corrected copy of the instructions; I don't know that I'm going to make individual ones available to you, but we will get these corrected copies of the instructions I am now reading to you in to you, but you certainly, when I'm done. And I will have one further instruction to read after this. You may go ahead and begin your deliberations.

The defendant is charged in count one with murder. To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the people must prove that: 1) the defendant committed an act with a firearm that caused the death of Lana Clarkson. Such as, placing the gun in her mouth or forcing her to place the gun in her mouth at which time it discharged. Pointing the gun at or against her head at which time it entered her mouth and discharged. Pointing the gun at her to prevent her from leaving the house, causing a struggle which resulted in the gun entering her mouth and discharging.

By using these examples I am not suggesting that any of these acts took place. These are inferences you may draw from the evidence but are not required to do so. You may reject them. These are only possibilities that you may consider.

The act committed by the defendant must be more than drawing or exhibiting a firearm in the presence of Lana Clarkson in a rude, angry, or threatening manner.

And 2.) When the defendant acted he had a state of mind called a malice of forethought. There are two kinds of malice of forethought, express malice and implied malice. Proof of either is sufficient to establish the state of mind required for murder. The defendant acted with express malice if he unlawfully intended to kill. The defendant acted with implied malice if

1) he intentionally committed an act; 2) the natural consequences of the act were danger to human life; 3) at the time he acted he knew his act was dangerous to human life; and 4) he deliberately acted with conscience disregard for human life.

Malice of forethought does not require hatred or ill-will toward the victim. It is a mental state that must be formed before the act that causes death is committed. It does not require deliberation, or the passage of any particular period of time. If you find the defendant guilty of murder as a matter of law it is murder of the second degree.

Finally, I am going to give you special instruction number four, and this has to do with how you should now consider your, um, deliberations. What I'm now going to do right now ladies and gentlemen, is have further instructions on directions to give you as to count one.

To assist you in your further deliberations, I am going to further instruct you as follows. Your goal as jurors should be to reach a fair and impartial verdict, if you are able to do so, based solely on the evidence presented, and without regard for the consequences of your verdict. It is your duty as jurors, to carefully consider, weigh, and evaluate all of the evidence presented in the trial, to discuss your views regarding the evidence and listen to and consider the views of your fellow jurors. In the course of your further deliberations, you should not hesitate to reexamine your own views or to request your fellow jurors to reexamine theirs. You should not hesitate to change a view you once held, if you are convinced it is wrong, or to suggest other jurors change their views, if you are convinced they are wrong.

Full and effective jury deliberations require a frank and forthright exchange of views. As I previously instructed you, each of you must decide the case for yourself, and should do so only after a full and complete consideration of all the evidence with your fellow jurors. It is your duty as jurors to deliberate with the goal of arriving at a verdict on the charge, if you can do so with out balance (?) to your individual judgement. Both the people, and the defendant, are entitled to the individual judgement of each juror. As I previously instructed you, you have absolute discretion to conduct your deliberations in any way you deem appropriate.

You may wish to consider changing the methods you have been following at least temporarily, and try new methods. For example, you may wish to consider having different jurors lead the discussions for a period of time, or you may wish to experiment with reverse role playing, by having those on one side of an issue present and argue the other sides position and vice versa. This might enable you to better understand the others' position. By suggesting you should consider changes in your methods of deliberations, I want to stress I am not dictating or instructing you how to conduct your deliberations. I merely (?) find you may find it productive to do whatever is necessary to ensure each juror has a full and fair opportunity to express his or her views and consider and understand the views of the other jurors.

I also suggest you reread CalCrim instructions 200, and CalCrim instruction 35-50. The integrity of a trial requires the jurors at all times during the deliberations conduct themselves as required by the instructions. CalCrim instruction 200 defines the duties of a juror. The decision the jury renders must be based on the facts, and the law. You must determine what facts have been proved from the evidence received in the trial, and not from any other source. A fact is something proved by the evidence, or by stipulation. Second, you must apply the law I state to you to the facts as you determine them, and in this way arrive at your verdict. You must accept and follow the law as I state it to you regardless of whether you agree with the law. If anything concerning the law said by the attorneys in their arguments, or at any other time during the trial conflicts with my instructions on the law, you must follow my instructions.

CalCrim 35-50 defines the jury's duty to deliberate. The decisions you make in this case must be based on the evidence received in the trial and the instructions given by the court. These are the matters... These are matters this instruction requires you to discuss for the purpose of reaching a verdict. CalCrim 35-50, is also an instruction which recommends how jurors should approach their task. You should keep in mind the recommendations this instruction suggests, when considering additional instructions, comments and suggestions I have made in the instructions now presented to you. I hope my comments and suggestions, may have some assistance to you. You're ordered to continue your deliberations at this time. If you have other questions, concerns, requests, or any communications you desire to report to me, please put those in writing on the form that my bailiff has provided you with. Have them signed and dated by your foreperson, and then please notify the bailiff. You may resume your deliberations at this time and we will take the alternates back to their waiting area.

Update 7:46 pm.
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Lilly said...

Way to go Sprocket!! Congrats, you're doing a great blog! Did you ever imagine all this would come from an interest in trials?
Keep up the good work.

Sprocket said...

Never in a gazillion years did I ever think that my original goal, ~of just writing about my experiences for my fellow crime forum members~ would prompt me to start a blog, and that in turn, would gather as much interest as it did.

It still amazes me. I'm seriously considering trying to get in to see a few days of the OJ proceedings. We'll see how that pans out though.

Unknown said...

Big kudos to you Sprockey - your blog is great.

The only thing I would have added to the Judge instructions is this:

"If you do not come to a guilty verdict within the next 3 business days, I am going to sentence you to 50 hours of Unchained Melody played by Barry Manilow. Now stop fooling around."