California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI)

116. Why Electronic Communications and Research Are Prohibited

I know that many of us are used to communicating and perhaps even learning by electronic communications and research. However, there are good reasons why you must not electronically communicate or do any research on anything having to do with this trial or the parties.

In court, jurors must make important decisions that have consequences for the parties. Those decisions must be based only on the evidence that you hear in this courtroom.

The evidence that is presented in court can be tested; it can be shown to be right or wrong by either side; it can be questioned; and it can be contradicted by other evidence. What you might read or hear on your own could easily be wrong, out of date, or inapplicable to this case.

The parties can receive a fair trial only if the facts and information on which you base your decisions are presented to you as a group, with each juror having the same opportunity to see, hear, and evaluate the evidence.

Also, a trial is a public process that depends on disclosure in the courtroom of facts and evidence. Using information gathered in secret by one or more jurors undermines the public process and violates the rights of the parties.

New June 2011

Directions for Use

Give this instruction after CACI No. 100, Preliminary Admonitions, in order to provide more information to the jury as to the reasons why independent electronic research using the internet and electronic communications are prohibited.

Secondary Sources

7 Witkin, California Procedure (5th ed. 2008) Trial, § 330 et seq.

Wegner et al., California Practice Guide: Civil Trials & Evidence, Ch. 7-F, Juror Misconduct During Trial, ¶¶ 7:110, 7:113.1 (The Rutter Group)

Wegner et al., California Practice Guide: Civil Trials & Evidence, Ch. 15-F, Juror Misconduct During Deliberations, ¶¶ 15:206–15:210 (The Rutter Group)

4 Johnson, California Trial Guide, Unit 91, Jury Deliberations and Rendition of Verdict, § 91.10 et seq. (Matthew Bender)

27 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 322, Juries and Jury Selection, § 322.50 et seq. (Matthew Bender)

1 Matthew Bender Practice Guide: California Trial and Post-Trial Civil Procedure, Ch. 17, Dealing With the Jury, 17.21