Criminal Procedures

Trial Process

Why are jury instructions important?

Jury instructions are important because most jurors take their civic responsibility very seriously and genuinely desire to follow the law. These jurors often pay particular attention to what the trial judge says. Furthermore, jury instructions are often a focus of defendants’ appeals, and appellate courts do pay close attention to jury instructions. For example, if a trial judge refuses to grant a defense attorney’s proposed jury instruction, that could be a good basis for an error of law committed by the trial judge.

Sometimes, no matter how much time they are given, a jury becomes deadlocked. A judge cannot force a jury to reach a verdict. (iStock).

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