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Florida Drug Defense Attorney > Blog > Drug Crime Defense > Jury Instructions in Florida Drug Cases

Jury Instructions in Florida Drug Cases


The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution enshrines the right to a fair trial, and a trial is not fair unless all of the participants perform their duties according to the dictates of the law.  This includes the police who obtained the warrants and made the arrest, the prosecutors who made a case against the defendant, the witnesses who testified, the judge who presided over the case, and the jury that returned the verdict.  You have probably heard about criminal cases that took a long time to resolve because it was so difficult to find unbiased jurors.  This often happens in cases that receive a lot of media coverage, but jurors having heard about a case, a defendant, or a witness in the media is not the only way that juror bias can occur.  Things that prosecutors or judges say during a trial can also impede a jury’s ability to return an unbiased verdict.  These prejudicial statements can happen at any time in the trial, even in the jury instructions that the judge presents to the jury right before they start deliberating.  A fair trial is in the details, and to ensure that every part of your trial, even the jury instructions, is fair, contact a Florida drug offenses attorney.

The Role of Juries Is Simple Until You Think About It Carefully

At first glance, it seems like the jury has the simplest role in the case, even though the jury’s decision makes all the difference as to whether you get a punishment and a criminal record.  How hard can it be to decide whether a defendant is innocent or guilty or whether the evidence presented at trial was credible?  Guilty or not guilty is not as simple a question as it sounds, especially when the crime of which the defendant is accused has multiple elements, as most crimes involving drug conspiracy do.

At the end of the trial, just before the jury goes to the jury room to deliberate in private, the judge presents the jury instructions to the jury.  Florida has published a uniform set of jury instructions for each criminal charge, but in practice, these are just a template, and judges write a unique set of jury instructions for each case.  The purpose is to ensure that juries understand the legal issues that relate to the decision they are about to make, so judges may want to include additional relevant information jurors would not know simply based on the boilerplate instructions.  When this goes well, it is in the interest of justice, but at worst, judges can prejudice the jury with statements they make in the jury instructions.  Therefore, the prosecutors and defense lawyers must approve the judge’s proposed jury instructions before the jury sees them.

Contact FL Drug Defense Group About Drug Cases

A Central Florida criminal defense lawyer can help you ensure that your trial in your drug case is fair.  Contact FL Drug Defense Group in Orlando, Florida to discuss your case.




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