Reappraising the Jury's Role as Finder of Fact
Martin A. Kotler
Widener University Delaware Law School
January 1, 1985
Georgia Law Review, Vol. 20, 1985
This Article addresses the question of whether and under what circumstances a trial judge should give a jury a so-called “ultimate outcome instruction,” informing the jurors of the legal consequences which will flow from their factual determinations. Thus, for example, in a state where a finding that the plaintiff’s negligence was equal to the defendant’s will result in no recovery, should the jury be so instructed. Similarly, should jurors be told whether awards are taxable in a civil case or instructed on sentencing practices in a criminal case.
It concludes that unless such an instruction is legislatively mandated, it is inappropriate for the judge to give such an instruction since it is intended to or permits the jury to manipulate their factual findings to evade the result contemplated by the legislature.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 50
Keywords: jury, juries, trials, jury instructions
JEL Classification: K40
Date posted: May 20, 2009