1 PJI 5 | EVIDENCE
The evidence from which you are to find the facts consists of the following:
1. The testimony of the witnesses;
2. Documents and other things received as exhibits;
3. Any facts that are stipulated -- that is, formally agreed to by the parties; and
[4. Any facts that are judicially noticed -- that is, facts I say you must accept as true even without other evidence.]
The following things are not evidence:
1. Statements, arguments, and questions of the lawyers for the parties in this case;
2. Objections by lawyers.
3. Any testimony I tell you to disregard; and
4. Anything you may see or hear about this case outside the courtroom.
You must make your decision based only on the evidence that you see and hear in court. Do not let rumors, suspicions, or anything else that you may see or hear outside of court influence your decision in any way.
You should use your common sense in weighing the evidence. Consider it in light of your everyday experience with people and events, and give it whatever weight you believe it deserves. If your experience tells you that certain evidence reasonably leads to a conclusion, you are free to reach that conclusion.
There are rules that control what can be received into evidence. When a lawyer asks a question or offers an exhibit into evidence, and a lawyer on the other side thinks that it is not permitted by the rules of evidence, that lawyer may object. This simply means that the lawyer is requesting that I make a decision on a particular rule of evidence. You should not be influenced by the fact that an objection is made. Objections to questions are not evidence. Lawyers have an obligation to their clients to make objections when they believe that evidence being offered is improper under the rules of evidence. You should not be influenced by the objection or by the court’s ruling on it. If the objection is sustained, ignore the question. If it is overruled, treat the answer like any other. If you are instructed that some item of evidence is received for a limited purpose only, you must follow that instruction.
Also, certain testimony or other evidence may be ordered struck from the record and you will be instructed to disregard this evidence. Do not consider any testimony or other evidence that gets struck or excluded. Do not speculate about what a witness might have said or what an exhibit might have shown.
This instruction is derived from the Bench Book for United States District Judges (Section 6.05); First Circuit (Criminal) 1.05; Eighth Circuit 1.02; and former Ninth Circuit 1.4. Cf. Ninth Circuit 1.7. The third and fourth paragraphs of the instruction are specifically derived from the instruction used by District Judges in Delaware.
This instruction is to be given at the outset of the case, as well as, or in place of, an instruction at the end of the case. The instruction can be given at the end of the case simply by changing the verbs to the past tense.
Instructions concerning the evidence can sometimes help to mitigate the effects of testimony to which an objection is sustained. See Leonard v. Stemtech Int’l Inc, 834 F.3d 376, 400 n.24 (3d Cir. 2016) (noting the presumption that jurors follow instructions and observing that “the District Court instructed the jury at the outset of trial that it should disregard evidence to which an objection was lodged when the objection is sustained”).
(Last Updated October 2017)
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on Pattern Jury Instruction 1 PJI 5
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