Members of the Jury: Now that you have heard all of the evidence and the arguments of the parties, it is my duty to instruct you as to the law of the case.
A copy of these instructions will be sent with you to the jury room when you deliberate.
You must not infer from these instructions or from anything I may say or do as indicating that I have an opinion regarding the evidence or what your verdict should be.
It is your duty to find the facts from all the evidence in the case. You, and you alone, are the judges of the facts. You must decide what the facts are and then apply those facts to the law which I will give to you. You must follow the law as I give it to you whether you agree with it or not. And you must not be influenced by any personal likes or dislikes, opinions, prejudices, or sympathy. That means that you must decide the case solely on the evidence before you. You will recall you took an oath to do so.
In following my instructions, you must follow all of them and not single out some and ignore others; they are all important.
You are the sole judges of the evidence in this case and it is up to you to evaluate the witnesses and other evidence. You are to perform this duty without bias, sympathy, prejudice, or what you think public opinion might be. You must impartially consider all the evidence in the case, following the law as stated in these instructions.
You should not necessarily decide any issue of fact in favor of the side that brought more witnesses or evidence at trial.
The test is which evidence convinces you because it is most believable.
In deciding contested issues, you should keep in mind who has the burden of proof on that issue.
The evidence in this case consists of the sworn testimony of the witnesses and all exhibits received into evidence. In reaching your verdict, you may consider only the testimony and exhibits received into evidence.
Certain things are not evidence, and you may not consider them in deciding what the facts are. I will list them for you:
(1) Arguments and statements by the attorneys are not evidence. The attorneys are not witnesses. What the attorneys have said in their opening statements, or in their closing arguments and at other times, is intended to help you interpret the evidence, but it is not evidence. If the facts as you remember them differ from the way they have stated them, your memory of them controls.
(2) Questions and objections by the attorneys are not evidence. Attorneys have a duty to their clients to object when they believe a question is improper under the rules of evidence. You should not be influenced by the objection or by the court's ruling on it.
(3) Testimony that has been excluded or stricken, or that you have been instructed to disregard, is not evidence and must not be considered.
(4) Anything you may have seen or heard when the court was not in session is not evidence. You are to decide the case solely on the evidence received at the trial.
There are two kinds of evidence, direct and circumstantial. A witness testifying to having actual knowledge of a fact and documents received in evidence constitute direct evidence. Circumstantial evidence is a chain of evidence from which you could find that another fact exists, even though no one directly testified as to that fact.
How much you believe evidence should not depend on whether it is direct or circumstantial, but on whether the evidence is trustworthy and reliable. For that reason, you may find a fact has been proven by circumstantial evidence if that conclusion seems reasonable to you.
In deciding what the facts are, you may have to decide which testimony to believe and which testimony not to believe. You may believe everything a witness says, or part of it, or none of it.
In considering the testimony of any witness, you may take into account any number of factors, which may include the following:
1. Was the witness able to see, hear or know the things about which the witness testified?
2. How good is the witness's memory and is the witness able to testify clearly?
3. Was the witness's manner while testifying straightforward and convincing, or evasive and unconvincing?
4. Did the witness have an interest in the outcome of the case or any bias or prejudice concerning anyone or anything that mattered in the case, and if so, did ...