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Uribe v. Babienco

United States District Court, N.D. California

July 26, 2016

CESAR URIBE, Plaintiff,
v.
PHILIP BABIENCO, Defendant.

          COURT’S PROPOSED CHARGE TO THE JURY AND SPECIAL VERDICT FORM

          WILLIAM ALSUP UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Appended hereto are copies of the draft charge to the jury and special verdict form given to both sides on July 26, 2016, for discussion with the Court at the charging conference on July 27, 2016, at 7:30 a.m. Although counsel have filed numerous proposed instructions, the proposed charge is based on the way the trial has actually developed, taking into account issues that have emerged and receded and concessions by counsel. Subject to the upcoming charging conference, the Court believes the proposed charge adequately and fairly covers all issues actually still in play. Therefore, in order to give the district judge a fair opportunity to correct any error as matters now stand, counsel must, at the charging conference, bring to the judge’s attention any addition, subtraction, or modification or other objections or proposal for the jury instructions. Otherwise, all such points shall be deemed waived and it will not be sufficient merely to argue after the verdict that a proposed instruction filed earlier in the proceedings somehow was not adopted. Rather, any such proposal that counsel still cares about must be raised anew at the charging conference. The charging conference shall be conducted so as to give full and fair opportunity for counsel to raise any and all objections and proposals.

         [DRAFT] FINAL CHARGE TO THE JURY AND SPECIAL VERDICT FORM

         1.

         Members of the jury, now that you have heard all the evidence and arguments by counsel, it is my duty to instruct you on the law that applies to this case. A copy of these instructions will be available in the jury room for you to consult as necessary.

         It is your duty to find the facts from all the evidence in the case. To those facts, you will apply the law as I give it to you. You must follow the law as I give it to you whether you agree with it or not. 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 that you took an oath promising to do so at the beginning of the case. In following my instructions, you must follow all of them and not single out some and ignore others; they are all equally important. You must not read into these instructions or into anything the Court may have said or done as suggesting what verdict you should return - that is a matter entirely up to you.

         The evidence from which you are to decide what the facts are consists of:

1. The sworn testimony of witnesses, on both direct and cross-examination, regardless of who called the witness;
2. The exhibits which have been received into evidence;
3. The sworn testimony of witnesses in depositions, read into evidence; and
4. Any facts to which the lawyers have stipulated. You must treat any stipulated facts as having been conclusively proved.

         3.

         Evidence may be direct or circumstantial. Direct evidence is direct proof of a fact, such as testimony by a witness about what that witness personally saw or heard or did. Circumstantial evidence is proof of one or more facts from which you could find another fact. By way of example, if you wake up in the morning and see that the sidewalk is wet, you may find from that fact that it rained during the night. However, other evidence, such as a turned-on garden hose, may explain the presence of water on the sidewalk. Therefore, before you decide that a fact has been proved by circumstantial evidence, you must consider all the evidence in the light of reason, experience and common sense. You should consider both kinds of evidence. The law makes no distinction between the weight to be given to either direct or circumstantial evidence. It is for you to decide how much weight to give to any evidence. You should base your decision on all of the evidence regardless of which party presented it.

         4.

         In reaching your verdict, you may consider only the types of evidence I have described. 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 lawyers are not evidence. The lawyers are not witnesses. What they have said in their opening statements, 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 the lawyers have stated them, your memory of them controls.
2. A suggestion in a question by counsel or the Court is not evidence unless it is adopted by the answer. A question by itself is not evidence. Consider it only to the extent it is adopted by the answer.
3. Objections by lawyers are not evidence. Lawyers have a duty to their clients to consider objecting when they believe a question is improper under the rules of evidence. You should not be influenced by any question, objection or the Court’s ruling on it.
4. Testimony or exhibits that have been excluded or stricken, or that you have been instructed to disregard, are not evidence and must not be considered. In addition, some testimony and exhibits have been received only for a limited purpose; where I have given a limiting instruction, you must follow it.
5. 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.

         5.

         In deciding the facts in this case, 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:

1. The opportunity and ability of the witness to see or hear or know the things testified to;
2. The witness’ memory; 3. The witness’ manner while testifying;
4. The witness’ interest in the outcome of the case and any bias or prejudice;
5. Whether other evidence contradicted the witness’ testimony;
6. The reasonableness of the witness’ testimony in light of all the evidence; and
7. Any other factors that bear on believability.

         The weight of the evidence as to a fact does not necessarily depend on the number of witnesses who testify. Nor does it depend on which side called witnesses or produced evidence. You should base your decision on all of the evidence regardless of which party presented it.

         6

         You are not required to decide any issue according to the testimony of a number of witnesses, which does not convince you, as against the testimony of a smaller number or other evidence, which is more convincing to you. The testimony of one witness worthy of belief is sufficient to prove any fact. This does not mean that you are free to disregard the testimony of any witness merely from caprice or prejudice, or from a desire to favor either side. It does mean that you must not decide anything by simply counting the number of witnesses who have testified on the opposing sides. The test is not the number of witnesses but the convincing force of the evidence.

         7

         A witness may be discredited or impeached by contradictory evidence or by evidence that, at some other time, the witness has said or done something or has failed to say or do something that is inconsistent with the witness’ present testimony. If you believe any witness has been impeached and thus discredited, you may give the testimony of that witness such credibility, if any, you think it deserves.

         8

         Discrepancies in a witness’ testimony or between a witness’ testimony and that of other witnesses do not necessarily mean that such witness should be discredited. Inability to recall and innocent misrecollection are common. Two persons witnessing an incident or a transaction sometimes will see or hear it differently. Whether a discrepancy pertains to an important matter or only to something trivial should be considered by you.

         However, a witness willfully false in one part of his or her testimony is to be distrusted in others. You may reject the entire testimony of a witness who willfully has testified falsely on a material point, unless, from all the evidence, you believe ...


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