Criminal Jury & Jimmy Ryce Instructions – How to Use the Standard Instructions

Boldface type, brackets, parentheses, and italics have been used to give certain directions.

These are as follows:

Boldface type is used exclusively to identify passages the trial judge should speak aloud to the jury. A paragraph typeset as follows, for example, should be read aloud.

The defendant is charged with the crime of kidnapping. To prove this charge the state must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt.

 Brackets are used exclusively to express variables within the text that is to be spoken aloud to the jury. In a sentence typeset as follows, for example, only the applicable variables enclosed in brackets should be read aloud.

The defendant reasonably believed [a danger] [an emergency] threatened significant harm to [himself] [herself].

Bracketed material will often appear in boldface because some or all of the enclosed words must be spoken aloud with the instruction.

Parentheses are used exclusively to signify the need to insert a proper name, a specific crime, or some other variable that must be supplied by the trial judge. For example, in the following sentence the designations in parentheses should be replaced with the proper name of the defendant and the name of the crime charged.

It is not entrapment if (defendant) had the predisposition to commit (crime charged).

 To avoid confusion, the material enclosed in parentheses is not typeset in bold. The words in parentheses are not spoken aloud with the text; they merely serve as signals to insert names, titles, or other words that should be spoken aloud.

Italics are used exclusively to give directions to the trial judge. For example in the following sentence, the words in italics direct the judge to give only one of several choices that follow:

Give 3(a), (b), or (c) as applicable.

Every word or phrase set in italics is essentially a note or instruction to the judge. Italics are used to indicate that the material is explanatory and that it should not be read to the jury.