Washington State Jury Commission
Appendix 6: Instruction with Suggestions for Deliberation Process
(For Recommendation 37)
PROPOSED JURY INSTRUCTION
You are free to manage your jury deliberations in any way that seems most suitable to you. However, I will make a few suggestions that may help you to proceed more smoothly with your deliberations. You are free to accept or reject these suggestions.*
When you return to the jury room to begin your deliberations, you might want to take a few minutes to get acquainted. You could each in turn introduce yourselves and indicate any topics or questions you want to discuss during the deliberations. I suggest, however, that you not give your opinion at this point about how you would vote.*
By first getting to know each other, you will feel more comfortable sharing your ideas, and you will have a better basis for choosing your presiding juror. Give careful consideration to this choice. Look for a juror who is a good listener and observer, who can organize the evidence and discussion, and who will see that every juror is heard fairly.*
You should then discuss the case with your fellow jurors to reach agreement if you can do so. I suggest that you:
Each of you must decide the case for yourself, but you should do so only after you have considered all the evidence and the law, discussed the case fully with the other jurors, and listened to the views of the other jurors.***
Do not be afraid to change your opinion if the discussion persuades you that you should. But do not come to a decision simply because other jurors think it is right. Each of you must make your own conscientious decision. Do not change an honest belief about the weight and effect of the evidence simply to reach a verdict.***
Your verdict must be based solely on the evidence and on the law as I have given it to you in these instructions. Nothing that I have said or done is intended to suggest what your verdict should be-that is entirely for you to decide.***
* Paragraphs marked with a single asterisk are adapted from a sample instruction that appears in G. Thomas Munsterman, et al, Jury Trial Innovations, Appendix 9, Sample A (3rd ed. 1997). The sample instruction was used by other states in developing their own proposed instruction .
** This paragraph, other than item (2), is taken directly from the instructions proposed in Arizona and the District of Columbia. Item (2) is adapted from a sample instruction that appears in Jury Trial Innovations, supra, Appendix 9, Sample C.
*** These paragraphs are taken verbatim from the instructions proposed in Arizona and the District of Columbia.
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