Criminal Law

101. Cautionary Admonitions: Jury Conduct (After Jury Is Selected)

101. Cautionary Admonitions: Jury Conduct (After Jury Is Selected)

I will now explain some basic rules of law and procedure. These rules ensure that both sides receive a fair trial.

During the trial, do not talk about the case or about any of the people or any subject involved in the case with anyone, not even your family, friends, spiritual advisors, or therapists. You must not talk about these things with the other jurors either, until the time comes for you to begin your deliberations.

As jurors, you may discuss the case together only after all of the evidence has been presented, the attorneys have completed their arguments, and I have instructed you on the law. After I tell you to begin your deliberations, you may discuss the case only in the jury room, and only when all jurors are present.

You must not allow anything that happens outside of the courtroom to affect your decision [unless I tell you otherwise]. During the trial, do not read, listen to, or watch any news report or commentary about the case.

Do not do any research on your own or as a group. Do not use a dictionary or other reference materials, investigate the facts or law, conduct any tests or experiments, or visit the scene of any event involved in this case. If you happen to pass by the scene, do not stop or investigate.

During the trial, do not speak to any party, witness, or lawyer involved in the trial. Do not listen to anyone who tries to talk to you about the case or about any of the people or subjects involved in it. If someone asks you about the case, tell him or her that you cannot discuss it. If that person keeps talking to you about the case, you must end the conversation.

When the trial has ended and you have been released as jurors, you may discuss the case with anyone. But under California law, you must wait at least 90 days before negotiating or agreeing to accept any payment for information about the case.

If you receive any information about this case from any source outside of the trial, even unintentionally, do not share that information with any other juror. If you do receive such information, or if anyone tries to influence you or any juror, you must immediately tell the bailiff.

Some words or phrases that may be used during this trial have legal meanings that are different from their meanings in everyday use. These words and phrases will be specifically defined in the instructions. Please be sure to listen carefully and follow the definitions that I give you. Words and phrases not specifically defined in the instructions are to be applied using their ordinary, everyday meanings.

Keep an open mind throughout the trial. Do not make up your mind about the verdict or any issue until after you have discussed the case with the other jurors during deliberations. Do not take anything I say or do during the trial as an indication of what I think about the facts, the witnesses, or what your verdict should be.

Do not let bias, sympathy, prejudice, or public opinion influence your decision.

Bench Notes

Instructional Duty

The court has a sua sponte duty to instruct the jurors on how they must conduct themselves during trial. (Pen. Code, § 1122.)

Do not give the sentence that begins "Do not let bias," in the penalty phase of a capital trial.

If there will be a jury view, give the bracketed phrase "unless I tell you otherwise" in the fourth paragraph. (Pen. Code, § 1119.)


Statutory Admonitions. Pen. Code, § 1122.

Avoid Discussing the Case. People v. Pierce (1979) 24 Cal.3d 199 [155 Cal.Rptr. 657, 595 P.2d 91]; In re Hitchings (1993) 6 Cal.4th 97 [24 Cal.Rptr.2d 74, 860 P.2d 466]; In re Carpenter (1995) 9 Cal.4th 634, 646-658 [38 Cal.Rptr.2d 665, 889 P.2d 985].

Avoid News Reports. People v. Holloway (1990) 50 Cal.3d 1098, 1108-1111 [269 Cal.Rptr. 530, 790 P.2d 1327], disapproved on other grounds in People v. Stansbury (1995) 9 Cal.4th 824, 830 [38 Cal.Rptr.2d. 394, 889 P.2d 588].

Judge's Conduct as Indication of Verdict. People v. Hunt (1915) 26 Cal.App. 514, 517 [147 P. 476].

No Bias, Sympathy, or Prejudice. People v. Hawthorne (1992) 4 Cal.4th 43, 73 [14 Cal.Rptr.2d 133, 841 P.2d 118].

No Independent Research. People v. Karis (1988) 46 Cal.3d 612, 642 [250 Cal.Rptr. 659, 758 P.2d 1189]; People v. Castro (1986) 184 Cal.App.3d 849, 853 [229 Cal.Rptr. 280]; People v. Sutter (1982) 134 Cal.App.3d 806, 820 [184 Cal.Rptr. 829].

Secondary Sources

5 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (3d ed. 2000), § 643.

4 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 81, Jury Selection and Opening Statement, § 81.06[1], Ch. 85, Submission to Jury and Verdict, § 85.05[1], [4] (Matthew Bender).

Related Issues

Admonition Not to Discuss Case With Anyone

In People v. Danks (2004) 32 Cal.4th 269, 298-300 [8 Cal.Rptr.3d 767, 82 P.3d 1249], a capital case, two jurors violated the court's admonition not to discuss the case with anyone by consulting with their pastors regarding the death penalty. The Supreme Court stated:

It is troubling that during deliberations not one but two jurors had conversations with their pastors that ultimately addressed the issue being resolved at the penalty phase in this case. Because jurors instructed not to speak to anyone about the case except a fellow juror during deliberations . . . . may assume such an instruction does not apply to confidential relationships, we recommend the jury be expressly instructed that they may not speak to anyone about the case, except a fellow juror during deliberations, and that this includes, but is not limited to, spouses, spiritual leaders or advisers, or therapists. Moreover, the jury should also be instructed that if anyone, other than a fellow juror during deliberations, tells a juror his or her view of the evidence in the case, the juror should report that conversation immediately to the court.

(Id. at p. 306, fn. 11.)

The court may, at its discretion, add the suggested language to the second paragraph of this instruction.

Jury Misconduct

It is error to instruct the jury to immediately advise the court if a juror refuses to deliberate or expresses an intention to disregard the law or to decide the case based on penalty, punishment, or any other improper basis. (People v. Engelman (2002) 28 Cal.4th 436, 449 [121 Cal.Rptr.2d 862, 49 P.3d 209].)

(New January 2006)