What are jury instructions in Trump's New York criminal trial?

Jury instructions are instructions that are given to jurors and written by the judge for jury deliberation in a case.

At trial, jury instructions are given to jurors after evidence has been presented and closing arguments have been made. Those instructions are given to the jury prior to their deliberation in deciding a case.

Jury instructions, according to Cornell’s Legal Information Institute (LII), are “the only guidance the jury should receive when deliberating and are meant to keep the jury on track regarding the basic procedure of the deliberation and the substance of the law on which their decision is based.”

Additionally, the LII states that attorneys for both the prosecution and the defense will propose jury instructions to the judge at the end of the trial that often seek specific phrasing that is advantageous to their client. However, the judge has final say over the instructions as to what content and phrasing is used throughout.

Judges who notice a flaw in the instructions may correct them “sua sponte,” Latin for “of one’s own accord,” meaning the court took notice of the flaw without being made aware of it by either party.

If the instructions are corrected, jurors are told to dismiss any previous instructions they were given.

Should an attorney oppose jury instruction, they may issue an appeal. The appeal, however, is unlikely to be granted in most cases due to certain models and standards that are used in today’s time for crafting jury instructions

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