California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI)

5011. Reading Back of Trial Testimony in Jury Room

You may request in writing that trial testimony be read to you. I will have the court reporter read the testimony to you. You may request that all or a part of a witness's testimony be read.

Your request should be as specific as possible. It will be helpful if you can state:

1. The name of the witness;

2. The subject of the testimony you would like to have read; and

3. The name of the attorney or attorneys asking the questions when the testimony was given.

The court reporter is not permitted to talk with you when she or he is reading the testimony you have requested.

While the court reporter is reading the testimony, you may not deliberate or discuss the case.

You may not ask the court reporter to read testimony that was not specifically mentioned in a written request. If your notes differ from the testimony, you must accept the court reporter's record as accurate.

Directions for Use

The read-back should not be conducted in the jury room unless the attorneys stipulate to that location.

Sources and Authority

Code of Civil Procedure section 614 provides: "After the jury have retired for deliberation, if there be a disagreement between them as to any part of the testimony, or if they desire to be informed of any point of law arising in the cause, they may require the officer to conduct them into court. Upon their being brought into court, the information required must be given in the presence of, or after notice to, the parties or counsel."

"Section 614 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides that if there is a disagreement among jurors during their deliberations as to any part of the testimony which they have heard they may return into court and secure from the court in the presence of counsel for all parties the desired information as to the record. If they ask for testimony relating to a specified subject, they are entitled to hear all of it. However, it is equally clear that the trial judge does not have to order read any part of the record which is not thus requested by the jury foreman." (McGuire v. W. A. Thompson Distributing Co. (1963) 215 Cal.App.2d 356, 365-366 [30 Cal.Rptr. 113], internal citations omitted.)

"When the jury requests a repetition of certain testimony, the trial court is not required to furnish the jury with testimony not requested." (Allen v. Toledo (1980) 109 Cal.App.3d 415, 422 [167 Cal.Rptr. 270], internal citations omitted.)

"Appellants assign as error the court's refusal to comply with their counsel's request for testimony reading. It was not. It is not the party to whom the law gives the right to select testimony to be read. And the law does not make the party or his attorney the arbiter to determine the jury's wishes." (Asplund v. Driskell (1964) 225 Cal.App.2d 705, 714 [37 Cal.Rptr. 652], italics in original.)

Secondary Sources

28 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 326, Jury Instructions, § 326.32 (Matthew Bender)

4 California Trial Guide, Unit 91, Jury Deliberations and Rendition of Verdict, § 91.01 (Matthew Bender)

(Revised February 2005)