CACI No. 102. Taking Notes During the Trial

Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (2023 edition)

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102.Taking Notes During the Trial
You have been given notebooks and may take notes during the trial. Do
not take the notebooks out of the courtroom or jury room at any time
during the trial. You may take your notes into the jury room during
You should use your notes only to remind yourself of what happened
during the trial. Do not let your note-taking interfere with your ability to
listen carefully to all the testimony and to watch the witnesses as they
testify. Nor should you allow your impression of a witness or other
evidence to be influenced by whether or not other jurors are taking
notes. Your independent recollection of the evidence should govern your
verdict, and you should not allow yourself to be influenced by the notes
of other jurors if those notes differ from what you remember.
[The court reporter is making a record of everything that is said. If
during deliberations you have a question about what the witness said,
you should ask that the court reporter’s records be read to you. You
must accept the court reporter’s record as accurate.]
At the end of the trial, your notes will be [collected and
destroyed/collected and retained by the court but not as a part of the
case record/ [specify other disposition]].
New September 2003; Revised April 2007, December 2007
Directions for Use
This instruction may be given as an introductory instruction or as a concluding
instruction after trial. (See CACI No. 5010, Taking Notes During the Trial).
The bracketed paragraph should not be read if a court reporter is not being used to
record the trial proceedings.
In the last paragraph, specify the court’s disposition of the notes after trial. No
statute or rule of court requires any particular disposition.
Sources and Authority
Juror Notes. Rule 2.1031 of the California Rules of Court.
“Because of [the risks of note-taking], a number of courts have held that a
cautionary instruction is required. For example, [one court] held that the
instruction should include ‘an explanation . . . that [jurors] should not permit
their note-taking to distract them from the ongoing proceedings; that their notes
are only an aid to their memory and should not take precedence over their
independent recollection; that those jurors who do not take notes should rely on
their independent recollection of the evidence and not be influenced by the fact
that another juror has taken notes; and that the notes are for the note takers own
personal use in refreshing his recollection of the evidence. The jury must be
reminded that should any discrepancy exist between their recollection of the
evidence and their notes, they should request that the record of the proceedings
be read back and that it is the transcript that must prevail over their notes.’
(People v. Whitt (1984) 36 Cal.3d 724, 747 [205 Cal.Rptr. 810, 685 P.2d 1161],
internal citations and footnote omitted.)
“In People v. Whitt, we recognized the risks inherent in juror note-taking and
observed that it is ‘the better practice’ for courts to give, sua sponte, a cautionary
instruction on note-taking. Although the ideal instruction would advert
specifically to all the dangers of note-taking, we found the less complete
instruction given in Whitt to be adequate: ‘Be careful as to the amount of notes
that you take. I’d rather that you observe the witness, observe the demeanor of
that witness, listen to how that person testifies rather than taking copious notes
. . . . [I]f you do not recall exactly as to what a witness might have said or you
disagree, for instance, during the deliberation [sic] as to what a witness may
have said, we can reread that transcript back . . . .’ (People v. Silbertson
(1985) 41 Cal.3d 296, 303 [221 Cal.Rptr. 152, 709 P.2d 1321], internal citations
and footnote omitted.)
Secondary Sources
California Deskbook on Complex Civil Litigation Management, Ch. 4, Trial of
Complex Cases, § 4.21[5] (Matthew Bender)
28 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 326, Jury Instructions, § 326.32
(Matthew Bender)
California Judges Benchbook: Civil Proceedings - Trial § 3.97 (Cal CJER 2019)

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