Chief Judge Marsha J. Pechman Jury Instructions
Judge Pechman instructs every jury twice: prior to opening statements and at the conclusion of the evidence. Prior to the pretrial conference which is held for each matter (civil and criminal) going to trial, Judge Pechman distributes to all counsel copies of her "generic" set of preliminary jury instructions; these are the standard instructions which she gives to every jury at the outset of a trial.
Counsel are provided this preliminary set of jury instructions for two reasons. First, so that objections to any of Judge Pechman's standard opening instructions may be raised at the pretrial conference. Second, so that counsel do not have to "reinvent the wheel" when submitting instructions on behalf of their client -- any instructions included in the generic set need not be submitted by any party.
Between the pretrial conference and the date and time set for hearing on jury instructions, counsel will be expected to submit to the Court (1) copies of any further instructions upon which the opposing parties have conferred and agreed and (2) cited and uncited copies of each side's proposed jury instructions upon which no agreement has been reached. The Court recommends the latest version of the Ninth Circuit Model Jury Instructions as the preferred proposed instructions.
It is the Court's preference that proposed jury instructions be submitted in electronic form, either via e-mail or on a disk. Each side's set of proposed instructions should also include a proposed verdict form.
Following the initial hearing on jury instructions, the Court will issue a set of opening instructions. Prior to the giving of opening instructions to the jury, each side will be permitted to take exceptions to the Court's instructions. Each juror is given a set of instructions to keep with them throughout the trial.
At the conclusion of the case, the Court will prepare with counsel the final and controlling set of instructions. Counsel is given a second opportunity to take exceptions. The first set of instructions is returned and the second, final set is substituted and read to the jury. Each juror is given a set of final instructions to use during deliberations.