California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI)

114. Bench Conferences and Conferences in Chambers

From time to time during the trial, it may become necessary for me to talk with the attorneys out of the hearing of the jury, either by having a conference at the bench when the jury is present in the courtroom, or by calling a recess to discuss matters outside of your presence. The purpose of these conferences is not to keep relevant information from you, but to decide how certain evidence is to be treated under the rules of evidence. Do not be concerned about our discussions or try to guess what is being said.

I may not always grant an attorney’s request for a conference. Do not consider my granting or denying a request for a conference as any indication of my opinion of the case or of my view of the evidence.

New December 2010

Directions for Use

This instruction is based on Model Instruction 1.18 of the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. It may be used to explain to the jury why there may be discussions at the bench that the jury will not be able to hear, and why sometimes the judge will call a recess for discussions outside of the presence of the jury.

Secondary Sources

48 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 551, Trial, § 551.77 (Matthew Bender)

1 California Trial Guide, Unit 4, Pretrial Evidentiary Motions, § 4.10[1] (Matthew Bender)

Matthew Bender Practice Guide: California Trial and Post-Trial Civil Procedure, Ch. 2, Public Access to Trials and Records, 2.05