Evaluation of Witness Testimony Jury Instruction

The following is an example of a jury instruction regarding how to evaluation a witness testimony:

You as jurors are the sole judges of whether to believe any witness and of how important that witness’s testimony is. You should carefully consider and examine all of the testimony and the circumstances under which each witness has testified and everything in the evidence which tends to show whether a witness is worthy of your belief or not. You may consider each witness’s intelligence, their motive, their state of mind, their demeanor, how they acted and reacted during the course of their testimony before you. You may consider any witness’s ability to observe, to see and to hear the matters as to which they have testified and whether they impress you as having an accurate memory now of those passed events. You may consider any interest that a witness might have in the outcome of the case and the manner in which, if at all, a witness might be affected by your decision. Remember that inconsistencies or discrepancies within the testimony of a single witness or between that of different witnesses either may or may not cause you to discredit such testimony. Different people witnessing an incident or transaction may see or hear it differently. An innocent misrecollection, like a failure of recollection, failure of memory, is not an altogether uncommon human experience. In considering and weighing discrepancies also consider whether it pertains to a matter of importance or rather to an unimportant detail and whether that discrepancy is the result of innocent error or intentional falsehood. After making your own judgment you will give the testimony of each witness such significance as you determine that it deserves. Ordinarily,our rules of evidence do not permit witnesses to testify as to opinions or conclusions. However, there is an exception to this rule for witnesses who testify as expert witnesses. Experts are people who by virtue of education and/or experience profess to be expert in some area. Experts may offer their opinions and state their reasons given for their opinions. You should carefully consider expert opinions presented and give them such weight as you determine that they deserve. If you find that an expert witness’s opinion is not based on sufficient education and/or experience, or if you find that the reasons or facts given some support of the opinion are not sound, or if you find that an expert opinion is outweighed by other evidence in the case, you are free to disregard the opinion. In this sense experts are treated like other witnesses; you are free to accept all of what an expert has to tell you, or some, or none at all. And how much weight to assign to expert witness testimony is for you, the jury, to determine.

Previous post:

Next post: