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United States v. Halali

United States District Court, N.D. California

March 8, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
BEHNAM HALALI, ERNESTO MAGAT, and KAREN GAGARIN, Defendants.

          JURY INSTRUCTIONS

         NOTE TO COUNSEL: In order to make the set of instructions clearer, the instructions on “aiding and abetting, ” “on or about” and “knowingly” were moved to the end of the substantive instructions; the instruction defining “intent to defraud” was eliminated, since it is given already in the wire fraud instruction (“the defendant acted with the intent to defraud, that is, the intent to deceive or cheat”); and the instruction on special witness considerations (immunity, etc.) was moved up to follow the general instruction about the credibility of witnesses. The instructions have been re-numbered accordingly.

         INSTRUCTION NO. 1

         DUTIES OF JURY TO FIND FACTS AND FOLLOW LAW

         Members of the jury, now that you have heard all the evidence, 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.

         It is your duty to weigh and to evaluate all the evidence received in the case and, in that process, to decide the facts. It is also your duty to apply the law as I give it to you to the facts as you find them, whether you agree with the law or not. You must decide the case solely on the evidence and the law and must not be influenced by any personal likes or dislikes, opinions, prejudices, or sympathy. You will recall that you took an oath promising to do so at the beginning of the case.

         You must follow all these instructions and not single out some and ignore others; they are all important. Please do not read into these instructions or into anything I may have said or done any suggestion as to what verdict you should return-that is a matter entirely up to you.

         INSTRUCTION NO. 2

         CHARGE AGAINST DEFENDANT NOT EVIDENCE-PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE-BURDEN OF PROOF

         The indictment is not evidence. The defendants have pleaded not guilty to the charges. Each defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until the government proves the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In addition, the defendants do not have to testify or present any evidence to prove innocence. The government has the burden of proving every element of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

         INSTRUCTION NO. 3

         DEFENDANT'S DECISION NOT TO TESTIFY

         A defendant in a criminal case has a constitutional right not to testify. You may not draw any inference of any kind from the fact that the defendant did not testify.

         INSTRUCTION NO. 4

         REASONABLE DOUBT-DEFINED

         Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is proof that leaves you firmly convinced the defendant is guilty. It is not required that the government prove guilt beyond all possible doubt.

         A reasonable doubt is a doubt based upon reason and common sense and is not based purely on speculation. It may arise from a careful and impartial consideration of all the evidence, or from lack of evidence.

         If after a careful and impartial consideration of all the evidence, you are not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant is guilty, it is your duty to find the defendant not guilty. On the other hand, if after a careful and impartial consideration of all the evidence, you are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant is guilty, it is your duty to find the defendant guilty.

         INSTRUCTION NO. 5

         WHAT IS EVIDENCE

         The evidence you are to consider in deciding what the facts are consists of:

         (1) the sworn testimony of any witness;

         (2) the exhibits received in evidence; and

         (3) any facts to which the parties have agreed.

         INSTRUCTION NO. 6

         WHAT IS NOT EVIDENCE

         In reaching your verdict you may consider only the testimony and exhibits received in evidence. The following things are not evidence and you may not consider them in deciding what the facts are:

         1. Questions, statements, objections, and arguments by the lawyers are not evidence. The lawyers are not witnesses. Although you must consider a lawyer's questions to understand the answers of a witness, the lawyer's questions are not evidence. Similarly, what the lawyers have said in their opening statements, will say 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 the lawyers state them, your memory of them controls.

         2. Any testimony that I have excluded, stricken, or instructed you to disregard is not evidence.

         3. 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.

         INSTRUCTION NO. 7

         DIRECT AND CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE

         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 indirect evidence, that is, it is proof of one or more facts from which you can find another fact.

         You are to consider both direct and circumstantial evidence. Either can be used to prove any fact. 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.

         INSTRUCTION NO. 8

         CREDIBILITY OF WITNESSES

         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 witness's opportunity and ability to see or hear or know the things testified to;

         (2) the witness's memory;

         (3) the witness's manner while testifying;

         (4) the witness's interest in the outcome of the case, if any;

         (5) the witness's bias or prejudice, if any;

         (6) whether other evidence contradicted the witness's testimony;

         (7) the reasonableness of the witness's testimony in light of all the evidence; and

         (8) 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. What is important is how believable the witnesses were, and how much weight you think their testimony deserves.

         INSTRUCTION NO. 9

         TESTIMONY OF WITNESSES INVOLVING SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES

         You have heard testimony from Marion Magat and Ha Nguyen, witnesses who received immunity. That testimony was given in exchange for a promise by the government that the witness will not be prosecuted.

         You also have heard testimony from Matthew Betti and Melissa Gilroy, witnesses who received immunity. That testimony was given subject to an order that the ...


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