Jury instructions are ceremonial, but they are not just ceremonial

Timothy Kowal, Esq.
May 18, 2023

After the theatrics of trial comes the sleep-inducing reading of the law. Do jury instructions matter? Studies show that jurors don’t even understand jury instructions, so what is the point of the judge taking a half day at the end of trial putting the jury to sleep by reciting all those CACI forms?

Appellate attorney Stefan Love agrees that jury instructions are ceremonial…but they are not JUST ceremonial. The jurors swear an oath to follow the law, and telling them what law applies is the bookend to that oath.

Watch the clip here.

This is a clip from episode 43 of the California Appellate Law Podcast. Listen to the full episode here.

Tim Kowal helps trial attorneys and clients win their cases and avoid error on appeal. He co-hosts the Cal. Appellate Law Podcast at www.CALPodcast.com, and publishes a newsletter of appellate tips for trial attorneys at www.tvalaw.com/articles. His appellate practice covers all of California's appellate districts and throughout the Ninth Circuit, with appellate attorneys in offices in Orange County and Monterey County. Contact Tim at tkowal@tvalaw.com or (714) 641-1232.