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1 PJI 1 | Third Circuit (US)
HB-PJI-CA03-01S0100 Download


Now that you have been sworn, I have the following preliminary instructions for your guidance as jurors in this case.

You will hear the evidence, decide what the facts are, and then apply those facts to the law that I will give to you.

You and only you will be the judges of the facts. You will have to decide what happened. I play no part in judging the facts. You should not take anything I may say or do during the trial as indicating what I think of the evidence or what your verdict should be. My role is to be the judge of the law. I make whatever legal decisions have to be made during the course of the trial, and I will explain to you the legal principles that must guide you in your decisions. You must follow that law whether you agree with it or not.

COMMENT This instruction is derived from the Bench Book for United States District Court Judges (Federal Judicial Center), and tracks similar pattern instructions in the First Circuit (Criminal 1.01) and Eleventh Circuit (2.1). See also Fifth Circuit 1.1. For other versions of this instruction, see Sixth Circuit (Criminal) 1.02; Eighth Circuit 1.01.

The instruction can be modified to be given at the end of the case when the court is about to give final instructions on the applicable law. See, e.g., Seventh Circuit (Criminal) 1.01:
Members of the jury, you have seen and heard all the evidence and the arguments of the attorneys. Now I will instruct you on the law. You have two duties as a jury. Your first duty is to decide the facts from the evidence in the case. This is your job, and yours alone. Your second duty is to apply the law that I give you to the facts. You must follow these instructions, even if you disagree with them. Each of the instructions is important, and you must follow all of them. Perform these duties fairly and impartially. Do not allow sympathy, prejudice, fear, or public opinion to influence you. [You should not be influenced by any person's race, color, religion, national ancestry, or sex.] Nothing I say now, and nothing I said or did during the trial, is meant to indicate any opinion on my part about what the facts are or about what your verdict should be.
See also Ninth Circuit 1.1A - 1.1C (instructions on duty of jurors).

(Last Updated October 2017)

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