Preliminary Instruction No. One
Ladies and gentlemen: You are now the jury in this case, and I want to take a few minutes to tell you something about your duties as jurors and to give you some instructions. At the end of the trial, I will give you more detailed instructions. Those instructions will control your deliberations.
It will be your duty to decide from the evidence what the facts are. You, and you alone, are the judges of the facts. You will hear the evidence, decide what the facts are, and then apply those facts to the law which I will give to you. That is how you will reach your verdict. In doing so, you must follow that law whether you agree with it or not. The evidence will consist of the testimony of witnesses, documents, and other things received into evidence as exhibits and any facts on which the lawyers agree or which I may instruct you to accept.
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.
Preliminary Instruction No. Two
During the trial you may hear me use a few terms that you may not have heard before. Let me briefly explain some of the most common to you. The party who is charging an individual with committing a federal offense is called the plaintiff. In this action, the plaintiff is the United States. A party being accused of committing a federal offense is called a defendant. The defendant is Randy K. Barker.
Plaintiff is represented by Assistant United States Attorneys Jared Dolan and Matthew Morris.
The defendant is represented by James Greiner.
The trial lawyers are not allowed to speak with you during this case. When you see them at a recess or pass them in the halls and they do not speak to you, they are not being rude or unfriendly; they are simply following the law.
You will sometimes hear me refer to "counsel." "Counsel" is another way of saying "lawyers" or "attorneys." I will sometimes refer to myself as the "Court."
There are rules of evidence that control what can be received into evidence. From time to time during the trial, I may make rulings on objections or motions made by the lawyers. When I sustain an objection, I am excluding that evidence from this trial. If I sustain or uphold an objection to a question that goes unanswered by the witness, you should not draw any inferences or conclusions from the question. When I overrule an objection, I am permitting that evidence to be admitted.
It is a lawyer's duty to object when the other side offers testimony or other evidence that the lawyer believes is not admissible. You should not be unfair or partial against a lawyer or the lawyer's client because the lawyer has made objections.
You should not infer or conclude from any ruling or other comment I may make that I have any opinions on the merits of the case favoring one side or the other. I do not favor one side or the other.
Preliminary Instruction No. Three
To help you follow the evidence, I will give you a brief summary of the charges against the defendant:
This is a criminal case brought by the United States government. The government charges the defendant with three crimes: conspiring to submit false claims to defraud the government, submitting false claims to the government, and money laundering. The charges against the defendant are contained in an indictment. The indictment is simply the description of the charges made by the government against the defendant; it is not evidence of anything.
In order to help you follow the evidence, I will now give you a brief summary of the charges. In the first count of the indictment, the government charges that the defendant Randy Barker, along with Tamara Barker, conspired together to submit claims for money or property from the government, and that the claims were based on false or fraudulent statements. A conspiracy is a kind of criminal partnership between two or more people to commit a crime. In the second count of the indictment, the government charges that the defendant did actually submit a false claim: a 2008 Income Tax Return. In the third count of the indictment, the government charges that the defendant took part in financial transactions involving the proceeds of other unlawful activity, which is commonly referred to as money laundering.
The defendant has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is presumed innocent unless and until proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. A defendant has the right to remain silent and never has to prove innocence or present any evidence.
Preliminary Instruction No. Four
All persons stand equal before the law and are to be treated as equals.
Preliminary Instruction No. Five
The evidence you are to consider in deciding what the facts ...