Criminal Law

202. Note-Taking

You have been given notebooks and may have taken notes during the trial. Please do not remove your notes from the jury room. You may use your notes during deliberations only to remind yourself of what happened during the trial. But remember, your notes may be inaccurate or incomplete. If there is a disagreement about what actually happened at trial, you may ask the court reporter to read back the relevant parts of the testimony to assist you. It is the testimony that must guide your deliberations, not your notes.

Bench Notes

Instructional Duty

There is no sua sponte duty to instruct on note-taking; however, instruction on this topic has been recommended by the Supreme Court. (People v. Morris (1991) 53 Cal.3d 152, 214 [279 Cal.Rptr. 720, 807 P.2d 949], disapproved on other grounds in People v. Stansbury (1995) 9 Cal.4th 824, 830 [38 Cal.Rptr.2d 394, 889 P.2d 588].)


Jurors' Use of Notes. People v. Whitt (1984) 36 Cal.3d 724, 746 [205 Cal.Rptr. 810, 685 P.2d 1161].

Secondary Sources

4 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 83, Evidence, § 83.05[1], Ch. 85, Submission to Jury and Verdict, § 85.05[2], [3], Ch. 87, Death Penalty, §§ 87.20, 87.24 (Matthew Bender).

(New January 2006)