California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) (2017)

100. Preliminary Admonitions

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100.Preliminary Admonitions
You have now been sworn as jurors in this case. I want to impress on
you the seriousness and importance of serving on a jury. Trial by jury is
a fundamental right in California. The parties have a right to a jury
that is selected fairly, that comes to the case without bias, and that will
attempt to reach a verdict based on the evidence presented. Before we
begin, I need to explain how you must conduct yourselves during the
trial.
Do not allow anything that happens outside this courtroom to affect
your decision. During the trial do not talk about this case or the people
involved in it with anyone, including family and persons living in your
household, friends and co-workers, spiritual leaders, advisors, or
therapists. You may say you are on a jury and how long the trial may
take, but that is all. You must not even talk about the case with the
other jurors until after I tell you that it is time for you to decide the
case.
This prohibition is not limited to face-to-face conversations. It also
extends to all forms of electronic communications. Do not use any
electronic device or media, such as a cell phone or smart phone, PDA,
computer, the Internet, any Internet service, any text or instant-
messaging service, any Internet chat room, blog, or website, including
social networking websites or online diaries, to send or receive any
information to or from anyone about this case or your experience as a
juror until after you have been discharged from your jury duty.
During the trial you must not listen to anyone else talk about the case
or the people involved in the case. You must avoid any contact with the
parties, the lawyers, the witnesses, and anyone else who may have a
connection to the case. If anyone tries to talk to you about this case, tell
that person that you cannot discuss it because you are a juror. If he or
she keeps talking to you, simply walk away and report the incident to
the court [attendant/bailiff] as soon as you can.
After the trial is over and I have released you from jury duty, you may
discuss the case with anyone, but you are not required to do so.
During the trial, do not read, listen to, or watch any news reports about
this case. [I have no information that there will be news reports
concerning this case.] This prohibition extends to the use of the Internet
in any way, including reading any blog about the case or about anyone
involved with it. If you receive any information about this case from
any source outside of the courtroom, promptly report it to the court
[attendant/bailiff]. It is important that all jurors see and hear the same
evidence at the same time.
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Do not do any research on your own or as a group. Do not use
dictionaries, the Internet, or other reference materials. Do not
investigate the case or conduct any experiments. Do not contact anyone
to assist you, such as a family accountant, doctor, or lawyer. Do not visit
or view the scene of any event involved in this case or use any Internet
maps or mapping programs or any other program or device to search
for or to view any place discussed in the testimony. If you happen to
pass by the scene, do not stop or investigate. If you do need to view the
scene during the trial, you will be taken there as a group under proper
supervision.
[If you violate any of these prohibitions on communications and
research, including prohibitions on electronic communications and
research, you may be held in contempt of court or face other sanctions.
That means that you may have to serve time in jail, pay a fine, or face
other punishment for that violation.]
It is important that you keep an open mind throughout this trial.
Evidence can only be presented a piece at a time. Do not form or
express an opinion about this case while the trial is going on. You must
not decide on a verdict until after you have heard all the evidence and
have discussed it thoroughly with your fellow jurors in your
deliberations.
Do not concern yourselves with the reasons for the rulings I will make
during the course of the trial. Do not guess what I may think your
verdict should be from anything I might say or do.
When you begin your deliberations, you may discuss the case only in
the jury room and only when all the jurors are present.
You must decide what the facts are in this case. Do not let bias,
sympathy, prejudice, or public opinion influence your verdict.
At the end of the trial, I will explain the law that you must follow to
reach your verdict. You must follow the law as I explain it to you, even
if you do not agree with the law.
New September 2003; Revised April 2004, October 2004, February 2005, June
2005, December 2007, December 2009, December 2011, December 2012
Directions for Use
This instruction should be given at the outset of every case, even as early as when
the jury panel enters the courtroom (without the first sentence).
If the jury is allowed to separate, Code of Civil Procedure section 611 requires the
judge to admonish the jury that “it is their duty not to converse with, or suffer
themselves to be addressed by any other person, on any subject of the trial, and
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that it is their duty not to form or express an opinion thereon until the case is
finally submitted to them.”
Sources and Authority
• Constitutional Right to Jury Trial. Article I, section 16 of the California
Constitution.
Instructing the Jury. Code of Civil Procedure section 608.
• Jury as Trier of Fact. Evidence Code section 312.
• Admonishments to Jurors. Code of Civil Procedure section 611.
• Contempt of Court for Juror Misconduct. Code of Civil Procedure section
1209(a)(6).
• Under Code of Civil Procedure section 611, jurors may not “form or express an
opinion” prior to deliberations. (See also City of Pleasant Hill v. First Baptist
Church of Pleasant Hill (1969) 1 Cal.App.3d 384, 429 [82 Cal.Rptr. 1]. It is
misconduct for a juror to prejudge the case. (Deward v. Clough (1966) 245
Cal.App.2d 439, 443–444 [54 Cal.Rptr. 68].)
• Jurors must not undertake independent investigations of the facts in a case.
(Kritzer v. Citron (1950) 101 Cal.App.2d 33, 36 [224 P.2d 808]; Walter v.
Ayvazian (1933) 134 Cal.App. 360, 365 [25 P.2d 526].)
• Jurors are required to avoid discussions with parties, counsel, or witnesses.
(Wright v. Eastlick (1899) 125 Cal. 517, 520–521 [58 P. 87]; Garden Grove
School Dist. v. Hendler (1965) 63 Cal.2d 141, 144 [45 Cal.Rptr. 313, 403 P.2d
721].)
• It is misconduct for jurors to engage in experiments that produce new evidence.
(Smoketree-Lake Murray, Ltd. v. Mills Concrete Construction Co. (1991) 234
Cal.App.3d 1724, 1746 [286 Cal.Rptr. 435].)
• Unauthorized visits to the scene of matters involved in the case are improper.
(Anderson v. Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (1963) 218 Cal.App.2d 276, 280 [32
Cal.Rptr. 328].)
• It is improper for jurors to receive information from the news media about the
case. (Province v. Center for Women’s Health & Family Birth (1993) 20
Cal.App.4th 1673, 1679 [25 Cal.Rptr.2d 667], disapproved on other grounds in
Heller v. Norcal Mutual Ins. Co. (1994) 8 Cal.4th 30, 41 [32 Cal.Rptr.2d 200,
876 P.2d 999]; Hilliard v. A. H. Robins Co. (1983) 148 Cal.App.3d 374, 408
[196 Cal.Rptr. 117].)
• Jurors must avoid bias: “ ‘The right to unbiased and unprejudiced jurors is an
inseparable and inalienable part of the right to trial by jury guaranteed by the
Constitution.’ ” (Weathers v. Kaiser Foundation Hospitals (1971) 5 Cal.3d 98,
110 [95 Cal.Rptr. 516, 485 P.2d 1132], internal citations omitted.) Evidence of
racial prejudice and bias on the part of jurors amounts to misconduct and may
constitute grounds for ordering a new trial. (Ibid.)
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• An instruction to disregard any appearance of bias on the part of the judge is
proper and may cure any error in a judge’s comments. (Gist v. French (1955)
136 Cal.App.2d 247, 257–259 [288 P.2d 1003], disapproved on other grounds in
Deshotel v. Atchinson, Topeka & Santa Fe Ry. Co. (1958) 50 Cal.2d 664, 667
[328 P.2d 449] and West v. City of San Diego (1960) 54 Cal.2d 469, 478 [6
Cal.Rptr. 289, 353 P.2d 929].) “It is well understood by most trial judges that it
is of the utmost importance that the trial judge not communicate in any manner
to the jury the judge’s opinions on the case submitted to the jury, because juries
tend to attach inflated importance to any such communication, even when the
judge has no intention whatever of influencing a jury’s determination.”
(Dorshkind v. Harry N. Koff Agency, Inc. (1976) 64 Cal.App.3d 302, 307 [134
Cal.Rptr. 344].)
Secondary Sources
27 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 322, Juries and Jury Selection,
§ 322.50 (Matthew Bender)
1 Matthew Bender Practice Guide: California Trial and Post-Trial Civil Procedure,
Ch. 17, Dealing With the Jury, 17.05
California Judges Benchbook: Civil ProceedingsTrial (2d ed.) §§ 13.6, 14.50,
14.51, 14.58 (Cal CJER 2010)
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