Preliminary Statements

The following instructions are provided for situations that commonly arise at jury draw or before opening statements:

CR01-011.  Questions for the jurors (07/28/03).  The questions (have you heard anything about the case, etc.) might be helpful in a high profile case; they are not necessary in every case.  Reasons for inquiry are discussed in State v. Onorato, 142 Vt. 99, 105-07 (1982). 

CR01-021.  Statement about juror note-taking (06/01/07).  If jurors are allowed to take notes, the court must give them a brief introduction.  See V.R.C.P. 39(e), Reporter’s Notes.  The procedures may vary from one court to another.  The model instruction is drafted in generic language, because in some cases “the record” may involve a stenographic recording, whereas in other cases it may involve audiotape or videotape

CR01-031.  Juror prohibitions, including use of electronic devices (05/08/17).  The instruction follows the suggestion of State v. Abdi, 2012 VT 4, ¶ 25, 191 Vt. 162, and is meant to be read at the beginning of the trial.  A shorter version of the instruction for use as part of the jury charge is also included as CR03-051. Courts should explicitly instruct the jury not to discuss the case amongst themselves until deliberations begin, along with an instruction not to communicate with others about the case. State Cameron, 2016 VT 134, ¶¶ 32–33 nn. 5–8.

CR01-032. Juror Prohibitions, Including Juror Use of Electronic Devices, Upon Separation Following Voir Dire and Before the Start of Trial (07/05/18).

CR01-501: Interpreters (American Sign Language) and CR01-511: Interpreters (Spanish or Other Foreign Language) (12/05/05).  If a case requires the use of interpreters, the judge must explain their use early in the case.  The committee recommends discussing potential issues at least as early as the jury draw.  For example, the judge and the attorneys will want to know whether any jurors understand the language that is being interpreted, and some consideration should be given to the potential problem of jurors disagreeing with an interpretation that is given.  Instruction CR01-511 may be used as an instruction for any foreign language interpreters.  It can be converted for use with another language by substituting for the word “Spanish.”