Blog

Can I write my own jury instructions in Nevada?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Jan 20, 2015 | 0 Comments

Parts of it. It is a collaborative effort between the defense and prosecution.

After the defense and prosecution in a Nevada jury trial have presented all their evidence and witnesses, they have the opportunity to submit jury instructions to the judge. Like it sounds, jury instructions are the guidelines and laws the jury must abide by when deliberating over what verdict to hand down. The judge reads the jury the instructions prior to closing arguments, and the jury takes the instructions with them into the jury room to refer to when they are deliberating.

Jury instructions are ultimately a collaborative writing process between the defense attorneys and deputy district attorneys, with the judge acting as the umpire. Each side writes its own instructions and/or copies favorable instructions from other cases in Nevada or similar jurisdictions. Each side has the opportunity in court (outside the presence of the jury) to object to each other's jury instructions, and the judge makes the final decision over which jury instructions get included.

Typically jury instructions include the legal definition of all the crimes the defendant is accused of, and these definitions include the elements of the offense. Jury instructions also include instructions on how to weigh evidence ("beyond a reasonable doubt") and how to decide whether a witness is credible or not. Juries may then ask the judge for clarification if they do not understand the jury instructions. (Read our article about bench trials versus jury trials in Nevada.)

About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.

Comments

There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Comments have been disabled.

Free attorney consultations...

The attorneys at Shouse Law Group bring more than 100 years collective experience fighting for individuals. We're ready to fight for you. Call us 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at 855-LAW-FIRM for a free case evaluation.

Regain peace of mind...

Shouse Law Defense Group has multiple locations throughout California. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Office Locations

Shouse Law Group has multiple locations all across California, Nevada, and Colorado. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Call us 24/7 (855) 396-0370