California Criminal Jury Instructions (CALCRIM) (2017)

200. Duties of Judge and Jury

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200.Duties of Judge and Jury
Members of the jury, I will now instruct you on the law that applies to
this case. [I will give you a copy of the instructions to use in the jury
room.] [Each of you has a copy of these instructions to use in the jury
room.] [The instructions that you receive may be printed, typed, or
written by hand. Certain sections may have been crossed-out or added.
Disregard any deleted sections and do not try to guess what they might
have been. Only consider the final version of the instructions in your
You must decide what the facts are. It is up to all of you, and you alone,
to decide what happened, based only on the evidence that has been
presented to you in this trial.
Do not let bias, sympathy, prejudice, or public opinion influence your
decision. Bias includes, but is not limited to, bias for or against the
witnesses, attorneys, defendant[s] or alleged victim[s], based on
disability, gender, nationality, national origin, race or ethnicity, religion,
gender identity, sexual orientation, age, [or] socioeconomic status (./,) [or
<insert any other impermissible basis for bias as
You must follow the law as I explain it to you, even if you disagree with
it. If you believe that the attorneys’ comments on the law conflict with
my instructions, you must follow my instructions.
Pay careful attention to all of these instructions and consider them
together. If I repeat any instruction or idea, do not conclude that it is
more important than any other instruction or idea just because I
repeated it.
Some words or phrases 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 these instructions. Please be sure
to listen carefully and follow the definitions that I give you. Words and
phrases not specifically defined in these instructions are to be applied
using their ordinary, everyday meanings.
Some of these instructions may not apply, depending on your findings
about the facts of the case. [Do not assume just because I give a
particular instruction that I am suggesting anything about the facts.]
After you have decided what the facts are, follow the instructions that
do apply to the facts as you find them.
New January 2006; Revised June 2007, April 2008, December 2008
Instructional Duty
The court has a sua sponte duty to instruct that the jurors are the exclusive judges
of the facts and that they are entitled to a copy of the written instructions when
they deliberate. (Pen. Code, §§ 1093(f), 1137.) Although there is no sua sponte duty
to instruct on the other topics described in this instruction, there is authority
approving instruction on these topics.
In the first paragraph, select the appropriate bracketed alternative on written
instructions. Penal Code section 1093(f) requires the court to give the jury a written
copy of the instructions on request. The committee believes that the better practice
is to always provide the jury with written instructions. If the court, in the absence
of a jury request, elects not to provide jurors with written instructions, the court
must modify the first paragraph to inform the jurors that they may request a written
copy of the instructions.
Do not instruct a jury in the penalty phase of a capital case that they cannot
consider sympathy. (People v. Easley (1982) 34 Cal.3d 858, 875–880 [196 Cal.Rptr.
309, 671 P.2d 813].) Instead of this instruction, CALCRIM 761 is the proper
introductory instruction for the penalty phase of a capital case.
Do not give the bracketed sentence in the final paragraph if the court will be
commenting on the evidence pursuant to Penal Code section 1127.
• Copies of Instructions. Pen. Code, §§ 1093(f), 1137.
Judge Determines Law. Pen. Code, §§ 1124, 1126; People v. Como (2002) 95
Cal.App.4th 1088, 1091 [115 Cal.Rptr.2d 922]; see People v. Williams (2001)
25 Cal.4th 441, 455 [106 Cal.Rptr.2d 295, 21 P.3d 1209].
• Jury to Decide the Facts. Pen. Code, § 1127.
• Attorney’s Comments Are Not Evidence. People v. Stuart (1959) 168
Cal.App.2d 57, 60–61 [335 P.2d 189].
• Consider All Instructions Together. People v. Osband (1996) 13 Cal.4th 622,
679 [55 Cal.Rptr.2d 26, 919 P.2d 640]; People v. Rivers (1993) 20 Cal.App.4th
1040, 1046 [25 Cal.Rptr.2d 602]; People v. Shaw (1965) 237 Cal.App.2d 606,
623 [47 Cal.Rptr. 96].
• Follow Applicable Instructions. People v. Palmer (1946) 76 Cal.App.2d 679,
686–687 [173 P.2d 680].
• No Bias, Sympathy, or Prejudice. Pen. Code, § 1127h; People v. Hawthorne
(1992) 4 Cal.4th 43, 73 [14 Cal.Rptr.2d 133, 841 P.2d 118].
• This Instruction Upheld. People v. Ibarra (2007) 156 Cal.App.4th 1174 [67
Cal.Rptr.3d 871].
Secondary Sources
5 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (3d ed. 2000) Criminal Trial, §§ 643,
4Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 80,
Defendant’s Trial Rights, § 80.05[1], Ch. 83, Evidence, § 83.02, Ch. 85, Submission
to Jury and Verdict, §§ 85.02[1], [2][c], 85.03[1], 85.05[2], [4] (Matthew Bender).
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].)