California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI)

113. Bias

Each one of us has biases about or certain perceptions or stereotypes of other people. We may be aware of some of our biases, though we may not share them with others. We may not be fully aware of some of our other biases.

Our biases often affect how we act, favorably or unfavorably, toward someone. Bias can affect our thoughts, how we remember, what we see and hear, whom we believe or disbelieve, and how we make important decisions.

As jurors you are being asked to make very important decisions in this case. You must not let bias, prejudice, or public opinion influence your decision. You must not be biased in favor of or against any party or witness because of his or her disability, gender, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, national origin, [or] socioeconomic status[, or [insert any other impermissible form of bias]].

Your verdict must be based solely on the evidence presented. You must carefully evaluate the evidence and resist any urge to reach a verdict that is influenced by bias for or against any party or witness.

New June 2010; Revised December 2012

Sources and Authority

  • Standard 10.20(a)(2) of the California Standards of Judicial Administration provides: “In all courtroom proceedings, refrain from engaging in conduct and prohibit others from engaging in conduct that exhibits bias, including but not limited to bias based on disability, gender, race, religion, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, whether that bias is directed toward counsel, court personnel, witnesses, parties, jurors, or any other participants.”
  • Canon 3(b)(5) of the California Code of Judicial Ethics provides: “A judge shall perform judicial duties without bias or prejudice. A judge shall not, in the performance of judicial duties, engage in speech, gestures, or other conduct that would reasonably be perceived as (1) bias or prejudice, including but not limited to bias or prejudice based upon race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status, or (2) sexual harassment.” Canon 3(b)(6) requires the judge to impose these standards on attorneys.

Secondary Sources

Witkin, California Procedure (5th ed. 2008) Trial, § 132

1 California Trial Guide, Unit 10, Voir Dire Examination, §§ 10.03[1], 10.21[2], 10.50, 10.80, 10.100 (Matthew Bender)

1 Matthew Bender Practice Guide: California Trial and Post-Trial Civil Procedure, Ch. 6, Jury Selection, § 6.21