Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis & Lightfoot, LLP
District of Columbia D.C. (202) 796-3291
Virginia VA (703) 498-2928
Maryland MD (301) 637-4614
se habla español
Call today for your free consultation
ES
se habla español
Back
Experienced at winning cases for people who need justice
Washington DC Personal injury law firm

Can a Jury Instruction Error be an Appealable Issue?

Posted on December 19, 2018 to

A jury instruction must accurately reflect the law and fairly convey the facts that were presented at trial. This must be done in a way that sets up the issue for the jury to decide the issue. Even just a few wrong words such as what the law is or what the facts that have been presented are, could be misleading to the jury. At trial the parties are often present proposed jury instructions to the trial judge, and out of the presence of the jury spend a fair amount of time going back and forth through drafts of the jury instructions to make sure they’re fair.

Click image to play video

Video Transcription

A jury instruction properly framed by the trial judge must accurately reflect the law and fairly convey the facts that were presented at trial in a way that sets up the issue for the jury to decide the issue, and it’s a science, and it’s an art, and even just a few wrong words could be misleading to the jury. Either as to what the law is or to what the facts that have been presented are, and at trial the parties often present proposed jury instructions to the trial judge, and out of the presence of the jury spend a fair amount of time going back and forth through drafts of the jury instructions to make sure they’re fair, but in this particular case the law was sufficiently murky. That it was not easy for the trial judge to decide how to properly apply or come up with an instruction that frames the application of the law to the facts, and the parties went back the lawyers went back and forth several times and the judge tried mightily to come up with one on and the court of appeals acknowledged the effort by the trial judge but said it doesn’t it wasn’t a fair instruction and so the court of appeals ultimately came up with its own instruction as to what it thought should be fair and should be used in a new trial by the trial judge. For more information please go to our website Koonz.com