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United States v. Cunningham

March 30, 2010

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
DAVID CUNNINGHAM



ELECTRONICALLY FILED

FINAL JURY INSTRUCTIONS

I. GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS

I WILL NOW INSTRUCT YOU ON THE LAW. AS JUDGES OF THE FACTS, IT IS YOUR DUTY TO DETERMINE FROM THE EVIDENCE WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED IN THIS CASE. BUT IN DECIDING WHAT THE FACTS ARE AND IN ARRIVING AT YOUR VERDICT, IT IS YOUR SWORN DUTY TO FOLLOW THE LAW AS I NOW EXPLAIN IT.

YOU MUST BE GUIDED BY MY INSTRUCTIONS AS A WHOLE; YOU MUST NOT DISREGARD OR GIVE SPECIAL ATTENTION TO ANY ONE INSTRUCTION; AND YOU MAY NOT QUESTION THE WISDOM OR CORRECTNESS OF ANY RULE OF LAW OR RULE OF EVIDENCE I STATE TO YOU. IN OTHER WORDS, DO NOT SUBSTITUTE YOUR OWN NOTION OR OPINION AS TO WHAT THE LAW IS OR OUGHT TO BE.

IF I HAVE REFERRED TO THE FACTS OR THE PARTIES' CONTENTIONS, IT WAS ONLY TO PLACE THE EVIDENCE AND ARGUMENTS IN PERSPECTIVE. IF I ASKED ANY QUESTIONS OF ANY WITNESSES OR OF THE ATTORNEYS, IT WAS TO CLARIFY MATTERS I FELT SHOULD HAVE BEEN CLARIFIED, AND NOT IN ANY WAY TO INDICATE THE COURT'S OPINION ABOUT THE FACTS OR THE TESTIMONY OF THE WITNESS. THIS COURT'S OPINION AS TO THE FACTS AND THE PARTIES' CONTENTIONS IS NOT AT ALL IMPORTANT. YOU AND YOU ALONE, ARE THE SOLE FINDERS OF THE FACTS.

WHATEVER YOUR VERDICT, IT WILL HAVE TO BE UNANIMOUS. ALL OF YOU WILL HAVE TO AGREE ON IT OR THERE WILL BE NO VERDICT. IN THE JURY ROOM YOU WILL DISCUSS THE CASE AMONG YOURSELVES, BUT ULTIMATELY EACH OF YOU WILL HAVE TO MAKE UP HIS OR HER OWN MIND. THIS IS A RESPONSIBILITY THAT EACH OF YOU HAS AND THAT YOU CANNOT AVOID.

PERFORM THESE DUTIES FAIRLY AND IMPARTIALLY. DO NOT ALLOW SYMPATHY, PREJUDICE, FEAR, OR PUBLIC OPINION TO INFLUENCE YOU. YOU SHOULD ALSO NOT BE INFLUENCED BY ANY PERSON'S RACE, COLOR, RELIGION, NATIONAL ANCESTRY, GENDER, PROFESSION, OCCUPATION, CELEBRITY, ECONOMIC CIRCUMSTANCES, OR POSITION IN LIFE OR IN THE COMMUNITY.

II. EVIDENCE

WHAT IS EVIDENCE

THE "EVIDENCE" IN THIS CASE CONSISTS OF THE TESTIMONY OF WITNESSES, THE DOCUMENTS AND OTHER THINGS RECEIVED AS EXHIBITS, ANY FACTS THAT HAVE BEEN STIPULATED TO, THAT IS, AGREED TO, BY THE PARTIES, AND ANY FACTS THAT HAVE BEEN JUDICIALLY NOTICED, THAT IS, FACTS WHICH I SAID YOU MAY ACCEPT AS TRUE EVEN WITHOUT OTHER EVIDENCE. YOU MUST MAKE YOUR DECISION IN THIS CASE BASED ONLY ON THE EVIDENCE THAT YOU SAW AND HEARD IN THE COURTROOM. DO NOT LET RUMORS, SUSPICIONS, OR ANYTHING ELSE THAT YOU MAY HAVE SEEN OR HEARD OUTSIDE OF COURT INFLUENCE YOUR DECISION IN ANY WAY.

EXHIBITS

COUNSEL FOR THE GOVERNMENT AND THE DEFENDANT HAVE AGREED TO THE LEGAL ADMISSIBILITY OF VARIOUS EXHIBITS.

THIS MEANS THAT THESE EXHIBITS MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE RULES OF EVIDENCE REGARDING ADMISSIBILITY FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION. THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE PARTIES AGREE AS TO ANY INFERENCES OR CONCLUSIONS THAT ARE TO BE OR MAY BE DRAWN FROM ANY EXHIBIT.

WHAT IS NOT EVIDENCE

CERTAIN THINGS ARE NOT EVIDENCE. I SHALL LIST THOSE THINGS AGAIN FOR YOU NOW:

1. STATEMENTS, ARGUMENTS, QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS BY LAWYERS REPRESENTING THE PARTIES IN THE CASE ARE NOT EVIDENCE. YOU MUST NOT ASSUME THAT A FACT IS TRUE JUST BECAUSE ONE OF THE LAWYERS OR I ASK A QUESTION ABOUT IT. IT IS THE WITNESS' ANSWERS THAT ARE EVIDENCE. OF COURSE, YOU MAY NEED TO CONSIDER THE QUESTION TO KNOW WHAT A WITNESS MEANS BY HIS OR HER ANSWER. FOR EXAMPLE, IF A WITNESS ANSWERS YES TO A QUESTION, YOU WILL HAVE TO CONSIDER THE QUESTION TO UNDERSTAND WHAT THE WITNESS IS SAYING.

2. OBJECTIONS ARE NOT EVIDENCE. LAWYERS HAVE A RIGHT TO OBJECT WHEN THEY BELIEVE SOMETHING IS IMPROPER. YOU SHOULD NOT BE INFLUENCED BY THE OBJECTION. IF I SUSTAINED AN OBJECTION TO A QUESTION, YOU MUST IGNORE THE QUESTION AND MUST NOT TRY TO GUESS WHAT THE ANSWER MIGHT HAVE BEEN.

3. TESTIMONY THAT I STRUCK FROM THE RECORD, OR TOLD YOU TO DISREGARD, IS NOT EVIDENCE AND MUST NOT BE CONSIDERED.

4. ANYTHING YOU SAW OR HEARD ABOUT THIS CASE OUTSIDE THE COURTROOM IS NOT EVIDENCE. YOU ARE TO DECIDE THE CASE SOLELY ON THE EVIDENCE PRESENTED HERE IN THE COURTROOM.

5. IN CERTAIN INSTANCES EVIDENCE MAY BE ADMITTED ONLY FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NOT GENERALLY FOR ALL PURPOSES.

FOR THE LIMITED PURPOSE FOR WHICH THIS EVIDENCE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOU MAY GIVE IT SUCH WEIGHT AS YOU FEEL IT DESERVES. YOU MAY NOT, HOWEVER, USE THIS EVIDENCE FOR ANY OTHER PURPOSE NOT SPECIFICALLY MENTIONED.

6. REMEMBER THAT THE INDICTMENT IS ONLY A DESCRIPTION OF THE ALLEGATIONS AND CHARGES MADE BY THE GOVERNMENT, AND IS NOT EVIDENCE THAT DEFENDANT HAS COMMITTED ANY CRIMES. YOU SHOULD ALSO REMEMBER THAT DEFENDANT HAS PLEADED NOT GUILTY TO THE CHARGES.

EVIDENCE, INFERENCES AND COMMON SENSE

WHILE YOU MAY CONSIDER ONLY THE EVIDENCE IN THE CASE IN ARRIVING AT YOUR VERDICT, YOU ARE PERMITTED TO DRAW SUCH REASONABLE INFERENCES FROM THE TESTIMONY AND EXHIBITS YOU FEEL ARE JUSTIFIED IN THE LIGHT OF COMMON EXPERIENCE. IN OTHER WORDS, YOU MAY REACH CONCLUSIONS WHICH REASON AND COMMON SENSE LEAD YOU TO REACH FROM THE FACTS ESTABLISHED BY THE EVIDENCE.

DIRECT AND CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE

IN THIS REGARD, YOU MAY CONSIDER EITHER DIRECT OR CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE. "DIRECT EVIDENCE" IS THE TESTIMONY OF ONE WHO ASSERTS ACTUAL KNOWLEDGE OF A FACT, SUCH AS AN EYEWITNESS. "CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE" IS PROOF OF A CHAIN OF FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH MAY INDICATE EITHER THE GUILT OR NON-GUILT OF A DEFENDANT. THE LAW MAKES NO DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE WEIGHT TO BE GIVEN TO EITHER DIRECT OR CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE. IT REQUIRES ONLY THAT YOU WEIGH ALL OF THE EVIDENCE AND BE CONVINCED OF A DEFENDANT'S GUILT BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT BEFORE YOU RETURN A VERDICT OF GUILTY AS TO ANY CHARGE.

BIAS, SYMPATHY AND PREJUDICE

YOU MAY NOT ALLOW SYMPATHY OR PERSONAL FEELINGS TO INFLUENCE YOUR DETERMINATION. YOUR DUTY IS TO DECIDE THE CASE SOLELY ON THE BASIS OF THE EVIDENCE OR LACK OF EVIDENCE AND THE LAW AS I HAVE INSTRUCTED YOU, WITHOUT BIAS, PREJUDICE OR SYMPATHY FOR OR AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT OR THE DEFENDANT. BOTH THE PARTIES AND THE PUBLIC EXPECT THAT YOU WILL CAREFULLY AND IMPARTIALLY CONSIDER ALL OF THE EVIDENCE IN THE CASE, FOLLOW THE LAW AS STATED BY THE COURT, AND REACH A JUST VERDICT REGARDLESS OF THE CONSEQUENCES.

JURORS' NOTES

YOUR NOTES ARE NOT EVIDENCE IN THE CASE AND MUST NOT TAKE PRECEDENCE OVER YOUR INDEPENDENT RECOLLECTION OF THE EVIDENCE. NOTES ARE ONLY AN AID TO YOUR RECOLLECTION AND ARE NOT ENTITLED TO GREATER WEIGHT THAN YOUR RECOLLECTION OF WHAT THE EVIDENCE ACTUALLY IS. YOU SHOULD NOT DISCLOSE ANY NOTES TAKEN TO ANYONE OTHER THAN A FELLOW JUROR.

YOU WERE NOT OBLIGATED TO TAKE NOTES. IF YOU DID NOT TAKE NOTES YOU SHOULD NOT BE INFLUENCED BY THE NOTES OF ANOTHER JUROR, BUT INSTEAD SHOULD RELY UPON YOUR OWN RECOLLECTION OF THE EVIDENCE.

III. CREDIBILITY OF WITNESSES/ WEIGHT OF TESTIMONY IN GENERAL.

IN GENERAL

YOU MUST CONSIDER ALL OF THE EVIDENCE, BUT THIS DOES NOT MEAN YOU MUST ACCEPT ALL OF THE EVIDENCE AS TRUE OR ACCURATE. YOU ARE THE SOLE JUDGES OF THE CREDIBILITY OF THE WITNESSES AND THE WEIGHT THEIR TESTIMONY DESERVES.

YOU MAY BE GUIDED BY THE APPEARANCE AND CONDUCT OF THE WITNESS, BY THE MANNER IN WHICH THE WITNESS TESTIFIES, BY THE CHARACTER OF THE TESTIMONY GIVEN AND BY EVIDENCE OR TESTIMONY TO THE CONTRARY.

YOU SHOULD CAREFULLY SCRUTINIZE ALL THE TESTIMONY GIVEN, THE CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH EACH WITNESS HAS TESTIFIED, AND EVERY MATTER IN EVIDENCE WHICH TENDS TO SHOW WHETHER A WITNESS IS WORTHY OF BELIEF. CONSIDER EACH WITNESS'S INTELLIGENCE, MOTIVE, STATE OF MIND, AND DEMEANOR OR MANNER WHILE ON THE STAND. CONSIDER THE WITNESS'S ABILITY TO HAVE OBSERVED THE MATTERS AS TO WHICH HE OR SHE HAS TESTIFIED, AND WHETHER HE OR SHE IMPRESSES YOU AS HAVING AN ACCURATE RECOLLECTION OF THESE MATTERS. CONSIDER ANY BUSINESS, PERSONAL OR OTHER RELATIONSHIP A WITNESS MIGHT HAVE WITH EITHER SIDE OF THE CASE; THE MANNER IN WHICH EACH WITNESS MIGHT BE AFFECTED BY THE VERDICT; AND THE EXTENT TO WHICH, IF AT ALL, EACH WITNESS IS EITHER SUPPORTED OR CONTRADICTED BY OTHER EVIDENCE IN THE CASE.

INCONSISTENCIES OR DISCREPANCIES

CONSIDER INCONSISTENCIES OR DISCREPANCIES IN THE TESTIMONY OF A WITNESS OR BETWEEN DIFFERENT WITNESSES, WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT CAUSE YOU TO DISCREDIT SUCH TESTIMONY. TWO OR MORE PERSONS WITNESSING AN INCIDENT OR A TRANSACTION MAY SEE OR HEAR IT DIFFERENTLY, AND INNOCENT MIS-RECOLLECTION, LIKE FAILURE OF RECOLLECTION, IS NOT AN UNCOMMON EXPERIENCE. IN WEIGHING THE EFFECT OF A DISCREPANCY, ALWAYS CONSIDER WHETHER IT PERTAINS TO A MATTER OF IMPORTANCE OR AN UNIMPORTANT DETAIL, AND WHETHER THE DISCREPANCY RESULTS FROM INNOCENT ERROR OR INTENTIONAL FALSEHOOD.

AFTER MAKING YOUR OWN JUDGMENT, YOU WILL GIVE THE TESTIMONY OF EACH WITNESS SUCH WEIGHT, IF ANY, AS YOU MAY THINK IT DESERVES. YOU MAY, IN SHORT, ACCEPT OR REJECT THE TESTIMONY OF ANY WITNESS IN WHOLE OR IN PART.

FALSE IN ONE, FALSE IN ALL

I CHARGE YOU THAT IF YOU FIND THAT A WITNESS HAS LIED TO YOU IN ANY MATERIAL PORTION OF HIS OR HER TESTIMONY, YOU MAY DISREGARD THAT WITNESS'S TESTIMONY IN ITS ENTIRETY. I SAY THAT YOU MAY DISREGARD THAT TESTIMONY IF YOU FIND THE WITNESS WAS UNTRUTHFUL IN A MATERIAL PORTION OF HIS OR HER TESTIMONY, NOT THAT YOU MUST. YOU MUST BE CAREFUL, THOUGH, THAT THE UNTRUE PART OF THE TESTIMONY WAS NOT THE ...


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