This course was a skills-based seminar focused on crafting jury instructions in criminal cases, and designed for judges who had already completed the Criminal Jury Trials Seminar.
The objective of this intensive workshop was to provide judges with practical experience in composing and delivering criminal jury charges. Participants drafted instructions for each stage of a jury trial from jury selection and opening remarks, the review of evidence and the final charge to the jury and responses to their questions.
Preparing and delivering criminal jury charges is a central element of the role of judges hearing criminal cases. Errors in charging a jury can be costly and damaging. This program offered judges the chance to work in small groups led by an experienced judicial faculty member who provided them with feedback and advice throughout the program. This year’s program was based on a detailed aggravated assault trial scenario. Specific topics included: selecting the jury; preliminary and mid-trial instructions; trial management powers; under-represented accused persons; final instructions; and questions from the jury.