OPENING INSTRUCTION - DUTY OF JURORS
It is your responsibility as jurors to determine the credibility of each witness and the weight to be given the testimony of the witness. In order to make this determination, you may properly consider the overall reaction of the witness while testifying; the frankness or lack of frankness of the witness; the interest and bias, if any, of the witness; the means and opportunity the witness had to know the facts about which the witness testifies; and the reasonableness or unreasonableness of the testimony in light of all the evidence in the case. You are not required to believe the testimony of any witness simply because the witness is under oath. You may believe or disbelieve all or part of the testimony of any witness. It is your duty to determine what testimony is worthy of belief and what testimony is not worthy of belief.
It is my responsibility as the judge to insure the evidence is presented according to the law, to instruct you as to the law, and to rule on objections raised by the attorneys. No statement or ruling by me is intended to indicate any opinion concerning the facts or evidence.
It is the responsibility of the attorneys to present evidence, to examine and cross-examine witnesses, and to argue the evidence. No statement or argument of the attorneys is evidence.
From time to time during the trial, the attorneys may raise objections. When an objection is made, you should not speculate on the reason why it is made. When an objection is approved or sustained by me, you should not speculate on what might have occurred or what might have been said had the objection not been sustained.
Throughout the trial you should remain alert and attentive. Do not form or express an opinion on the case until it is submitted to you for your decision. Do not discuss this case among yourselves until that time. Do not tell anybody about the case, discuss this case with anyone else, or permit anyone else to discuss this case in your presence. This includes either in person or by electronic, telephonic or any other means. Do not talk to the attorneys, the defendant(s), or the witness(es). If anyone should attempt to discuss this case with you, report the incident to me or to the bailiff immediately. This case must be decided solely upon the evidence presented to you in this courtroom, free from any outside influence. This means that during the trial you must not conduct any independent research about the case, the matters in the case, the individuals, witnesses, attorneys, or organizations in the case. In other words, you should not consult dictionaries or reference materials, search the internet, websites, blogs, or use any other electronic tools to obtain information about the case or to help you decide the case. Do not read newspaper reports or obtain information from any other source about this trial or the issues, parties, or witnesses involved in this case, and do not watch or listen to television or radio reports about it. Do not attempt to visit the scene or investigate this case on your own.
While court is in session, please power off or place in airplane mode, all electronic devices. These devices include, but are not limited to, cell phones, Apple Watches, Garmins, or other personal electronics worn on your person. This will allow you to concentrate on the evidence without interruption. If you are required to use your device for medical reasons, please inform the court clerk. You may keep your cell phone or other devices with you until deliberation begins.
At this point in the trial, the attorney for the State reads the information/indictment, the plea of the defendant(s), and gives an opening statement. The attorney for the defendant(s) may give an opening statement after the attorney for the State, or may elect to reserve his/her opening statement until the conclusion of the evidence by the State. Opening statements are not evidence but serve as guides so that you may better understand and evaluate the evidence when it is presented.
Following the opening statements, witnesses are called to testify. Witnesses are sworn and then examined and cross-examined by the attorneys. Exhibits may also be introduced into evidence.
After the evidence is completed, I will instruct you on the law applicable to the case. The attorneys are then permitted closing arguments. Closing arguments are not evidence and are permitted for purposes of persuasion only.
When closing arguments are completed, the case will be submitted to you. You will then retire to consider your verdict.
The attorney for the State may now proceed.