JURY CHARGES

Document Sample
JURY CHARGES Powered By Docstoc
					JURY CHARGES
The Why, What, Who and How
       What you will learn:
• Why jury charges are important
• What is a jury charge
• Who is responsible for a jury charge
  and the statutory authority
• How to prepare a jury charge
     The Pledge of Allegiance


I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States
of America

and to the Republic for which it stands,

One nation under God, indivisible,

with Liberty and Justice for all.
                 The Why
Two scenarios.
    Scenario No. 1 - Speeding
• Speed limit in Your Town, TX, is 30 mph

• Signs are posted everywhere

• Violation occurred within the city limits
• Abbott is stopped by a peace officer for
  speeding in Your Town and is issued a
  citation for speeding, traveling 55 mph in a
  30 mph zone

• Abbott requested a jury trial, and the
  testimony in the trial has just concluded
            The Testimony
• The peace officer testified that he saw a
  vehicle traveling on Main Street and
  visually observed that it was going faster
  than the 30 mph speed limit.

• The officer testified that he then checked
  the speed with his radar unit and it showed
  the speed to be 55 mph.
• The officer pulled the vehicle over,
  identified the driver, and issued the citation

• Abbott testified and admitted that he was
  going over the posted speed limit

• Abbott testified that he was a voluntary
  fireman and was on his way to the fire
  station because there was a fire
• You have prepared the following charge
  and read it to the jury
                          CAUSE NO. 11111111

STATE OF TEXAS                §              IN THE MUNICIPAL COURT
v.                            §              CITY OF YOUR TOWN
CLAY ABBOTT                   §              NEW COUNTY, T E X A S

                             JURY CHARGE

MEMBERS OF THE JURY:

The defendant, CLAY ABBOTT stands charged by complaint with the
offense of speeding, it being alleged that said offense was committed in
the corporate limits of the City of Your Town, New County, Texas, on or
about the 1st day of April, 2006, to which charge the defendant pled “Not
Guilty.”

An operator of a vehicle may not drive at a speed greater than reasonable
and prudent under the circumstances then existing. A speed in excess of
the limits established is prima facie evidence that the speed is not
reasonable and prudent and that the speed is unlawful.

“Operator” means a person who drives or has physical control of a vehicle.
“Prima facie” means evidence that stands proved until rebutted by the evidence.

It is a misdemeanor for a person to violate the above provision, and any person
convicted of such violation shall be punished by a fine of not less than $1.00 nor
more than $200.00.

In all criminal cases the burden of proof is on the State.

All persons are presumed to be innocent and no person may be convicted of an
offense unless each element of the offense is proved beyond a reasonable
doubt. The fact that a person has been arrested, confined, or indicted for or
otherwise charged with, the offense gives rise to no inference of guilt at his trial.
The law does not require a defendant to prove his innocence or produce any
evidence at all. The presumption of innocence alone is sufficient to acquit the
defendant, unless the jurors are satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt of the
defendant's guilt after careful and impartial consideration of all the evidence in
the case.
The prosecution has the burden of proving the defendant guilty and it must do
so by proving each and every element of the offense charged beyond a
reasonable doubt and if it fails to do so, you must acquit the defendant.

It is not required that the prosecution prove guilt beyond all doubt. It is required
that the prosecution's proof excludes all reasonable doubt concerning the
defendant's guilt.

Now therefore, if you believe from the evidence beyond a reasonable doubt
that on the 1st day of April, 2006, the defendant, Clay Abbott did then and there
operate a motor vehicle on a public street or highway, to-wit: 100 Main , which
is within the incorporated limits of the City of Your Town, New County, Texas at
a speed greater than was reasonable and prudent under the circumstances, to-
wit: 55 miles per hour, at which time and place the maximum prima facie
reasonable and prudent speed limit applicable was 30 miles per hour, you shall
find the defendant guilty as charged and assess a penalty at a fine not less
than $1.00 nor more than $200.00. In the event you have a reasonable doubt
as to the defendant's guilt after considering all the evidence before
you, and these instructions, you will acquit the defendant and say by your
verdict not guilty.

In deliberating upon this case, you must not refer to nor discuss any matters
not in evidence before you.

If you find the defendant guilty, you must not arrive at the punishment to be
assessed by any lot or chance, or by putting down any figures and doing any
dividing.

You will retire to the Jury room and select a foreperson. Your verdict must be
unanimous. You are to render your verdict on the enclosed sheet of paper
after reaching your decision.

When you have reached your decision you will so indicate by knocking on the
door to inform the Bailiff and return to the courtroom.
               _______________________________________
                           MUNICIPAL COURT JUDGE
                    City of Your Town, New County, Texas
    The Verdict



Based solely on the testimony
and the charge you have just
read, what was the jury’s
verdict?

Why?
Now, let’s look at the basically same charge, but with an added
paragraph:


Prima facie” means evidence that stands proved until rebutted by the evidence.
The regulation of the speed of a vehicle does not apply to an
authorized emergency vehicle responding to a call, a police patrol;
or a physician or ambulance responding to an emergency call.
It is a misdemeanor for a person to violate the above provision, and any person
convicted of such violation shall be punished by a fine of not less than $1.00 nor
more than $200.00.



What is the jury’s verdict now?

Does this additional paragraph make a difference?

How?
     Scenario No. 2 - Assault
• Johnny Appleseed and Yosemite Sam
  lived next door to each other and did NOT
  get along at all

• In fact, their relationship was more like the
  “Hatfields” and the “McCoys”
• Johnny had an apple tree very close to the
  property line between his and Sam’s
  property

• As the tree grew, some of the branches
  hung over Sam’s property, and as a result,
  some of the apples fell onto Sam’s
  property
• Because Sam hated apples (and because
  he wasn’t crazy about Johnny), Sam took
  a chainsaw and cut off all of the branches
  and limbs of the apple tree that were
  hanging onto his (Sam’s) side of the
  property line

• Johnny, a conservationist (“tree hugger”)
  was appalled and confronted Sam
• Johnny alleged to Sam that Sam had
  destroyed his tree and that Sam should
  pay Johnny for a full grown apple tree as a
  replacement

• As a result of the accusation, Johnny and
  Sam argued, yelled, screamed, hollered,
  shouted, and cursed each other
• Then Sam clenched his hand into a fist,
  raised his fist to his chest, and Johnny,
  seeing this, immediately hit Sam

• Sam then filed a charge of assault by
  contact against Johnny

• Johnny pled not guilty, and asked for a
  jury trial
            The Testimony
• Sam testified that he did cut down the
  limbs and branches, and that he did get
  into a verbal argument with Johnny, but
  that was all.

• Sam testified that he did not hit Johnny,
  and that he was not going to, because he
  had been in trouble with the law before
• Johnny testified that he did hit Sam, but
  that it was in self-defense

• Johnny testified that he knew about Sam’s
  temper and reputation, and when Sam
  clenched his hand into a fist and was
  raising his fist up to his chest, Johnny was
  afraid that Sam was going to hit him
• You have prepared the charge and read it
  to the jury

• The charge is the one you have in front of
  you

• The jury has deliberated and knocked on
  the door with its verdict
                          CAUSE NO. 11111111

STATE OF TEXAS                 §              IN THE MUNICIPAL COURT
v.                             §              CITY OF YOUR TOWN
JOHNNY APPLESEED               §              NEW COUNTY, T E X A S

                              JURY CHARGE

MEMBERS OF THE JURY:

The defendant, JOHNNY APPLESEED stands charged by complaint with
the offense of assault by contact, it being alleged that said offense was
committed in the corporate limits of the City of Your Town, New County,
Texas, on or about the 1st day of April, 2006, to which charge the
defendant pled “Not Guilty.”

Section 22.01(a)(3) of the Texas Penal Code provides that a person
commits an offense if the person intentionally or knowingly causes
physical contact with another when the person knows or should have
reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or
provocative.

“Intentionally” means a person acts intentionally, or with intent, with
respect to the nature of his conduct when it is his conscious objective
“Knowingly” as defined in the Texas Penal Code, §6.03(b) means a person
acts knowingly, or with knowledge, with respect to the nature of his
conduct or to circumstances surrounding his conduct when he is aware of
the nature of his conduct or that the circumstances exist. A person acts
knowing, or with knowledge, with respect to a result of his conduct when
he is aware that his conduct is reasonably certain to cause the result.

It is a misdemeanor for a person to violate the above provision, and any
person convicted of such violation shall be punished by a fine of not less
than $1.00 nor more than $500.00.

In all criminal cases the burden of proof is on the State.

All persons are presumed to be innocent and no person may be convicted
of an offense unless each element of the offense is proved beyond a
reasonable doubt. The fact that a person has been arrested, confined, or
indicted or otherwise charged with the offense gives rise to no inference of
guilt at his trial. The law does not require a defendant to prove his
innocence or produce any evidence at all. The presumption of innocence
alone is sufficient to acquit the defendant, unless the jurors are satisfied
beyond a reasonable doubt of the defendant’s guilt after careful and
impartial consideration of all the evidence in the case.

The prosecution has the burden of proving the defendant guilty and it must
do so by proving each and every element of the offense charged beyond a
reasonable doubt and if it fails to do so, you must acquit the defendant.

It is not required that the prosecution prove guilt beyond all doubt. It is
required that the prosecution’s proof excludes all reasonable doubt
concerning the defendant’s guilt.

Now therefore, if you believe beyond a reasonable doubt that on the 1st
day of April, 2006, the defendant Johnny Appleseed did then and there
knowingly cause physical contact with another, to-wit: Yosemite Sam when
the defendant should have reason to believe that Yosemite Sam would
regard the contact as offensive or provocative, and said violation occurred
at 100 Main Street, which is within the incorporated limits of the City of
Your Town, New County, Texas, you will find the defendant “guilty” and
assess the penalty at a fine of not less than $1.00 nor more than $500.00.
In the event you have a reasonable doubt as to the defendant’s guilt after
considering all of the evidence before you, and these instructions, you will
acquit the defendant and say by your verdict not guilty.

In deliberating upon this case, you must not refer to nor discuss any matters
not in evidence before you.

If you find the defendant guilty, you must not arrive at the punishment to be
assessed by any lot or chance, or by putting down any figures and doing any
dividing.

You will retire to the Jury room and select a foreperson. Your verdict must be
unanimous. You are to render your verdict on the enclosed sheet of paper
after reaching your decision.

When you have reached your decision you will so indicate by knocking on the
door to inform the Bailiff and return to the courtroom.
               _______________________________________
                           MUNICIPAL COURT JUDGE
                    City of Your Town, New County, Texas
Based solely on the testimony and the charge you have in front of you, what
was the jury’s verdict?

Why?
• Let’s look at the charge again, but with
  some added paragraphs regarding self-
  defense.
Now, let’s look at the basically same charge, but with an added
paragraph:

   A person is justified in using force against another when and to the
   degree he reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to
   protect himself against the other's use or attempted use of unlawful
   force. Except, the use of force against another is not justified in
   response to verbal provocation alone.

   Therefore, if you find beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant,
   Johnny Appleseed, did hit Yosemite Sam, but you further find, or
   have a reasonable doubt thereof, that the defendant was justified in
   using force against Yosemite Sam when and to the degree he
   reasonably believed the force was immediately necessary to protect
   himself against Yosemite Sam's use or attempted use of unlawful
   force, you will find the defendant not guilty.


 What is the jury’s verdict now?
 Does this additional paragraph make a difference?
 How?
Why?
Answer:
The What
                Definition
• A direction or guideline that a judge gives
  a jury concerning the law of the case
The Who
          Statutory authority
• Art. 45.033 of the Texas Code of Criminal
  Procedure states “that a judge SHALL
  charge the jury. The charge may be made
  orally or in writing, except that the charge
  shall be made in writing if required by law.”
   What is “if required by law”?
• This phrase refers to any court of record,
  including municipal courts of record.

• If your court is a court of record, then you
  MUST have a written jury charge.
The How
       Basic Components
• Introduction
• Law
• Standardized paragraphs
• Elements of the charge; charging
  language
• Defenses, if any
• Standardized concluding paragraphs
• Judge’s signature block
Introduction
                  Law
• What are your sources of law?
                  Sources
State Statutes
     Texas Transportation Code
     Penal Code
     Alcohol & Beverage Code
     Education Code

City Ordinances
Standardized paragraphs
Elements
    Conjunctive v. Disjunctive
• Conjunctive – joins together sentences,
  clauses, or words; usually with the word
  “and”

• Disjunctive – expresses something in the
  alternative; usually with the word “or”

• Dolkart v. The State of Texas 2006 SW3d
  (LWC 5832, July 26, 2006)
              Defenses
• What is a defense?
• A defendant’s stated reason why the State
  has no valid case

• An affirmative defense is defendant’s
  assertion raising new facts and arguments
  that, if true, will defeat the State’s case.
What are some defenses?
                   Defenses
•   1.   Self-defense
•   2.   Insanity
•   3.   Emergency
•   4.   Provocation
•   5.   Consent
Standardized Concluding
      Paragraphs
Special Charges
Allen Charge
• An Allen charge is a supplemental jury
  instruction given by the court to encourage
  a dead-locked jury, after prolonged
  deliberations, to reach a verdict.

• Case: Allen v. United States, 164 U.S.
  492, 17 S.Ct. 154, 41 L.Ed. 528 (1896).
             H E L P !
• Future website on TMCEC

• All judges, clerks, prosecutors can
  submit jury charges, but most of all so
  we don’t have to reinvent the wheel