Different Types of Jury Instructions

by | Published on Nov 13, 2015 | Legal Process Outsourcing

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Jury InstructionsJury instructions are the set of legal rules that the judge provides the jury with advice to use them to guide their deliberations. The judge usually reads out the instructions to the jury and jurors are required to follow these instructions while making a decision on a case. Thus, jury instructions are a crucial part of court proceedings and greatly impact the end result of a trial. Since jury instruction is a vast and diverse area, creating such instruction through legal transcription procedures is a challenging task. The process will largely depend upon the type of court case. So, it is very important to understand different types of jury instructions.

General Instructions

  • Certain types of jury instructions come before the trial even starts. Such instructions are related to jury selections, statement of the charge, challenges to jurors and questioning in capital cases.
  • When the trial begins, there can be new sets of instructions also. The jurors may go through preliminary instructions as well as instructions related to the stipulations, questions by jurors, closing arguments and the defendant advocating on their own.
  • The final instructions come up during the final charge to the jury and include the statement of the charge, evidence, eyewitnesses, alibis, crime spots, cautionary instructions, rules of deliberation and the verdict.
  • Supplemental instructions required are given out from time to time. Such instructions come up during the cases with a jury deadlock or jury discharge. These involve answers to the jurors’ questions during their deliberations or when the jury requests for read-back or a play-back of specific court testimony.

Instructions on Crimes

Specific instructions and definitions are provided by the court for criminal cases including homicides, kidnapping, arson, burglary, racketeering, assault, gambling, and illegal possession of weapons among others. Jurors should follow these guidelines carefully when it comes to criminal cases, to avoid grave mistakes.

Grand Jury Proceedings and Instructions

There are 12-23 individuals in a grand jury and the court provides specific instructions on their duties and responsibilities. These include:

  • Preliminary instructions that include the topics of juror oath, services, duties and importance of their work.
  • In civil cases, the court instructs juries regarding investigations, findings, inquiries and other relevant factors while juries are instructed regarding probable cause, indictment, true bill, capital crimes, witnesses and subpoenas.
  • There would be a foreperson, vice-foreperson, clerk and jurors in the grand jury. Instructions are given according to the specific role of each participant in the jury.
  • Other instructions pertaining to disqualifications, oaths, jury functions, conclusions, elections, appointments and subversive activities.

Special Proceedings

At special proceedings, the correct degrees of guilt are attributed to different crimes. The jury instructions particularly address the categories mentioned earlier and their degree of guilt in such cases.

Transcription Services for Quality Jury Instructions

Jury instructions are typically recorded after presenting all evidences in the court and following the closing arguments. Maintaining the quality of jury instruction transcripts is very crucial. Jury instructions are detailed and may be quite complex depending upon the court cases. For example, judgment of the level of guilt can be very tough in the case of special proceedings and hence the jury instructions in such cases can be very complex and highly detailed. It requires outstanding listening skills and thorough knowledge in this field to understand the exact context and capture the accurate details to generate high quality transcripts. In these instances, the services of a reliable legal transcription service provider will prove invaluable. With trained and experienced transcriptionists, stringent quality checking and commitment to meet deadlines, you are ensured jury instruction transcripts of the best quality when you require them.

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