Have you ever told somebody something and they just don't get it. You tell the same thing again and again, nada, zilch, and then you change a few words and then you speak more slowly. After awhile, a smile, then a knowing understanding emerges on their face. Well anyone in a long term relationship or who's married understands this point.
Communication is far more than the words you speak.
Communication is facial expression, communication is cadence, It is said that 90% of communication is NOT even verbal.
Can how the judge instructs the jury effect a jury's verdict?
Can the judge instruct the jury as to confuse them about what the law is?
New York State DWI Jury Instructions Are Confusing
Jury Instructions are an explanation of the law.
It is also a "how to" guide for it's application to the facts and circumstances of a case.
How should it be applied to the facts of a case are highly specific as to the laws of any given state. The responsibility of having communication understood lies entirely with the communicator. The "TOR" must ensure that those communicated with "get it!" Whatever it is!
New York Judges Have a Very Important Role
In a trial, in a courtroom the judge has one main role. To INSTRUCT the jury.
To tell them the law. To instruct them in it's application. This is far easier said than done.
I have heard jury instructions read to juries in broken fashion. I couldn't even follow the judge's sentences. I have also heard them read too fast and too slow. Oh my god the frustration when a judge is butchering the jury instructions. If no one understands them then how can they be expected to follow them?
If the judge doesn't instruct clearly and communicate so that the jury understands what then?
The jurors role to apply the law gets confused and murky. Their role cannot be fulfilled properly and then we could wind up with a guilty verdict even if the facts are in our favor.
You see jurors can only follow instructions they are given. If the instructions are bad the results will be as well.
In my next blog post I'll hit the three highly contested areas of DWI defense and their related jury instructions. The importance of a good defense lies in "highlighting" these jury instructions and making sure the jurors understand their nuances.
Lawrence Newman is a partner in Newman and Cyr which focuses on DWI and criminal defense in the Fingerlakes region of New York State. contact firstname.lastname@example.org