Coker v. Arkansas State Police et al

Filing 112

ORDER: The Court appreciates the parties' proposed jury instructions. The Court also appreciates, and will cover the gist of, Cartwright's proposed voir dire questions. The Court is attaching its current working drafts of (1) the preliminar y instructions, (2) the final instructions, and (3) the verdict form. We'll take these up Monday Morning. Signed by Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. on 2/6/2015. (Attachments: # 1 Preliminary Instructions, # 2 Final Instructions, # 3 Verdict Form)(jak)

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INSTRUCTION NO. 1 Members of the Jury, the instructions I gave you at the beginning of the trial and during the trial remain in effect. I now give you some additional instructions on the law that applies to this case. You must, of course, continue to follow all the instructions I gave you earlier, as well those I give you now. The instructions I am about to give you now are in writing and will be available to you in writing in the jury room. I emphasize, however, that this does not mean they are more important than my earlier instructions. Again, all my instructions, whether given in writing or spoken from this bench, must be followed. It is your duty as jurors to follow the law as stated in the instructions, and to apply the given rules of law to the facts as you find them to be from the evidence in this case. You are not to single out one instruction alone as stating the law, but must consider the instructions as a whole. Neither are you to be concerned with the wisdom of any rule of law as stated by the Court. Regardless of any opinion you may have about what the Court’s Working Draft - Final Instructions 6 February 2015 1 Coker v. Cartwright 4:11-cv-867-DPM law ought to be, it would be a violation of your sworn duty to base a verdict upon any other view of the law other than that given in the instructions of the Court; just as it would be a violation of your sworn duty, as judges of the facts, to base a verdict upon anything but the evidence in the case. Nothing I say in the instructions is to be taken as an indication that I have any opinion about the facts of the case, or what that opinion is. It is not my function to decide the facts. You will decide the facts. During this trial I have occasionally asked questions of witnesses. Do not assume that because I asked questions I hold any opinion on the matters to which my questions related. Justice through trial by jury must always depend on the willingness of each individual juror to seek the truth about the facts from the same evidence presented to all the jurors; and to arrive at a verdict by applying the same rules of law as given in the Court’s instructions. Statements and arguments of counsel are not evidence in the case. When the lawyers on both sides stipulate or agree on the existence of a fact, however, the Jury must accept the stipulation and regard that fact as proved. Court’s Working Draft - Final Instructions 6 February 2015 2 Coker v. Cartwright 4:11-cv-867-DPM The evidence in the case always consists of the sworn testimony of the witnesses, regardless of who may have called them and any documents, photographs, videos, or other items that are received by the Court, and all facts that may have been admitted or stipulated. If I have instructed you to consider some evidence for a limited purpose only, do so. Any evidence on which an objection was sustained by the Court—and any witness statement or tangible item that was stricken by the Court—must be entirely disregarded. Anything you may have seen or heard outside this courtroom is not evidence, and it must be entirely disregarded. Court’s Working Draft - Final Instructions 6 February 2015 3 Coker v. Cartwright 4:11-cv-867-DPM Court’s Working Draft - Final Instructions 6 February 2015 4 Coker v. Cartwright 4:11-cv-867-DPM INSTRUCTION NO. 2 In conducting your deliberations and returning your verdict, there are certain rules you must follow. First, when you go to the jury room, you must select one of your members as your foreperson. That person will preside over your discussions and speak for you all here in court. Second, it is your duty, as jurors, to discuss this case with one another in the jury room. You should try to reach agreement if you can do so without violence to individual judgment, because a verdict must be unanimous. Each of you must make your own conscientious decision, but only after you have considered all the evidence, discussed it fully with your fellow jurors, and listened to the views of your fellow jurors. Do not be afraid to change your opinions if the discussion persuades you that you should. But do not come to a decision simply because other jurors think it is right, or simply to reach a verdict. Remember at all times that you are not partisans. You are judges—judges of the facts. Your sole interest is to seek the truth from the evidence in the case. Court’s Working Draft - Final Instructions 6 February 2015 5 Coker v. Cartwright 4:11-cv-867-DPM Third, if you need to communicate with me during your deliberations, you may send a note to me, through the court security officer, that is signed by one or more jurors. I will respond as soon as possible either in writing or orally in open court. Remember that you should never tell anyone —including me—how your votes stand numerically. Fourth, your verdict must be based solely on the evidence and on the law that I have given to you in my instructions. The verdict must be unanimous. Again, nothing I have said or done is intended to suggest what your verdict should be—that is entirely for you to decide. Court’s Working Draft - Final Instructions 6 February 2015 6 Coker v. Cartwright 4:11-cv-867-DPM INSTRUCTION NO. 3 This case should be considered and decided by you as disputes between persons of equal worth. All persons stand equal before the law and are to be treated as equals. Court’s Working Draft - Final Instructions 6 February 2015 -7- Coker v. Cartwright 4:11-cv-867-DPM INSTRUCTION NO. 4 You are the sole judges of the credibility of the witnesses and the weight and value to be given to their testimony. In deciding what the facts are, you may have to decide what testimony you believe and what testimony you do not believe. You may believe all of what a witness said, or only part of it, or none of it. In deciding what testimony to believe, you may consider the witness’s intelligence; the opportunity the witness had to see or hear the things about which he or she testified; the witness’s memory; any motives a witness may have for testifying a certain way; the manner and demeanor of the witness while testifying; whether the witness said something different at an earlier time; the general reasonableness or unreasonableness of the testimony; and the extent to which the testimony is consistent with any other evidence that you believe. In deciding whether or not to believe a witness, keep in mind that people sometimes hear or see things differently and sometimes forget things. Court’s Working Draft - Final Instructions 6 February 2015 -8- Coker v. Cartwright 4:11-cv-867-DPM You need to consider therefore whether a contradiction is an innocent misrecollection, lapse of memory, or an intentional falsehood—and that may depend on whether it has to do with an important fact or only a small detail. You have heard evidence that plaintiff Gabriel Coker has been convicted of a crime. You may use that evidence only to help you decide whether to believe Coker and how much weight to give his testimony. Court’s Working Draft - Final Instructions 6 February 2015 -9- Coker v. Cartwright 4:11-cv-867-DPM INSTRUCTION NO. 5 A witness may be discredited or impeached by contradictory evidence or by evidence that at some other time the witness has said or done something, or has failed to say or do something, that is inconsistent with the witness’s present testimony. If you believe any witness has been impeached and thus discredited, you may give the testimony of that witness whatever credibility, if any, you think it deserves. If a witness is shown knowingly to have testified falsely about any material matter, you have a right to distrust that witness’s other testimony and you may reject all the testimony of that witness or give it whatever credibility you think it deserves. An act or omission is “knowingly” done, if done voluntarily or intentionally, and not because of mistake, accident, or other innocent reason. Court’s Working Draft - Final Instructions 6 February 2015 -10- Coker v. Cartwright 4:11-cv-867-DPM INSTRUCTION NO. 6 In considering the evidence in this case you are not required to set aside your common sense or common knowledge. You have the right to consider all the evidence in light of your own observations and experiences in the affairs of life. Court’s Working Draft - Final Instructions 6 February 2015 -11- Coker v. Cartwright 4:11-cv-867-DPM INSTRUCTION NO. 7 In these instructions you are told that one or the other party has the burden to prove certain facts. The burden of proving a fact is placed upon the party whose claim depends upon that fact. The party who has the burden of proving a fact must prove it by a preponderance of the evidence. To prove something by the “preponderance of the evidence” is to prove that it is more likely true than not true. It is determined by considering all of the evidence and deciding which evidence is more believable. If, on any issue of fact in the case, the evidence is equally balanced, you cannot find that fact has been proved. The preponderance of the evidence is not necessarily established by the greater number of witnesses or exhibits a party has presented. You may have heard of the term “proof beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is a stricter standard, which applies in criminal cases. It does not apply Court’s Working Draft - Final Instructions 6 February 2015 -12- Coker v. Cartwright 4:11-cv-867-DPM in civil cases like this one. You should, therefore, put it out of your minds. INSTRUCTION NO. 8 Your verdict must be for Gabriel Coker and against Brad Cartwright on Coker’s claim of excessive use of force if Coker has proved all the following elements: • First, Cartwright kicked Coker in the face, or hit Coker in the face with either his fist or his flashlight, or elbowed Coker after he was handcuffed, or some combination of these actions; • Second, the force used was excessive because it was not reasonably necessary to take Coker into custody; • Third, as a direct result, Coker was injured; and • Fourth, Cartwright was acting under color of state law. In deciding on the second element, you must consider several things: • the need for using force; • the relationship between the need and the amount of force that was used; Court’s Working Draft - Final Instructions 6 February 2015 -13- Coker v. Cartwright 4:11-cv-867-DPM • the extent of the injury inflicted; • whether a reasonable officer on the scene, without the benefit of hindsight, would have used that much force under similar circumstances; • you should keep in mind that the decision about how much force to use often must be made in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly changing; and • you must decide whether Cartwright’s actions were reasonable in light of the facts and circumstances confronting Cartwright, without regard to Cartwright’s state of mind, intention, or motivation. If Coker has not proved all four elements about Cartwright, then your verdict must be for Cartwright. Court’s Working Draft - Final Instructions 6 February 2015 -14- Coker v. Cartwright 4:11-cv-867-DPM INSTRUCTION NO. 9 If you find in favor of Coker, then you must award him an amount of money that will fairly compensate him for any damages you find that he has sustained, and is reasonably certain to sustain in the future, as a direct result of Cartwright’s conduct that violated Coker’s constitutional rights. You may not award damages solely for emotional suffering. But if you find that Coker was physically injured, then you may award damages for physical injury and emotional suffering. You should consider the following elements of damages: • the physical pain and emotional suffering Coker has experienced and is reasonably certain to experience in the future; • the nature and extent of any injury; • whether any injury is temporary or permanent; and • the reasonable value of the medical (hospital, nursing, and similar) care and supplies reasonably needed by and actually provided to Coker (and reasonably certain to be needed and provided in the future). Court’s Working Draft - Final Instructions 6 February 2015 -15- Coker v. Cartwright 4:11-cv-867-DPM Remember, throughout your deliberations you must not engage in any speculation, guess, or conjecture. And you must not award any damages under this Instruction by way of punishment or through sympathy. INSTRUCTION NO. 10 In addition to the damages mentioned in other instructions, the law permits the jury under certain circumstances to award punitive damages. If you find in favor of Coker under Instruction No. 8, and if it has been proved that the conduct of Cartwright was malicious, or recklessly indifferent to Coker’s rights such that malice can be inferred, then you may, but are not required to, award Coker an additional amount as punitive damages against Cartwright. These damages have two purposes: punishing Cartwright for engaging in this misconduct and deterring Cartwright and others from engaging in misconduct in the future. You should presume that Coker has been made whole for his injuries by the damages awarded under Instruction No. 9. If you decide to award punitive damages, you should consider the following in deciding the amount of punitive damages to award: Court’s Working Draft - Final Instructions 6 February 2015 -16- Coker v. Cartwright 4:11-cv-867-DPM First, how reprehensible was Cartwright’s conduct? In this regard, you may consider whether the harm suffered by Coker was physical, whether there was violence, intentional malice, or reckless disregard for human health or safety. Second, how much harm did Cartwright’s wrongful conduct cause Coker and could cause Coker in the future? Third, what amount of punitive damages, in addition to the other damages already awarded, is needed, considering Cartwright’s financial condition, to punish Cartwright for his wrongful conduct toward Coker, and to deter Cartwright and others from similar wrongful conduct in the future? “Malicious” means intentionally injuring another without just cause or reason. The amount of any punitive damages award should bear a reasonable relationship to the harm caused to Coker. You may assess punitive damages against Cartwright or you may refuse to assess punitive damages. Court’s Working Draft - Final Instructions 6 February 2015 -17- Coker v. Cartwright 4:11-cv-867-DPM INSTRUCTION NO. 11 The verdict form is simply the written notice of your decision. I’ll read it to you now. You will take the verdict form to the jury room, and when each of you has agreed on the answers, your foreperson will fill in the form for each question that you are called upon to answer to reflect your unanimous decision, sign and date it, and then advise the court security officer that you are ready to return to the Courtroom. I add the caution that nothing said in the instructions—and nothing in the verdict form I’ve prepared for your convenience—is or was intended to suggest or convey in any way or manner any intimation as to what answers I think you should find. How you choose to answer the verdict form shall be the sole and exclusive responsibility of you, the Jury. If it becomes necessary during your deliberations to communicate with Court’s Working Draft - Final Instructions 6 February 2015 -18- Coker v. Cartwright 4:11-cv-867-DPM the Court, you may send a note by the court security officer, signed by your foreperson, or by one or more members of the Jury. No member of the Jury should ever attempt to communicate with the Court by any means other than a signed writing; and the Court will never communicate with any member of the Jury on any subject touching the merits of the case, other than in writing, or orally here in open Court. You will note from the oath about to be taken by the court security officer to act as bailiff that he, and all other persons, are forbidden to communicate in any way or manner with any member of the Jury on any subject touching the merits of the case. Bear in mind also that you are never to reveal to any person, not even to the Court, how the Jury stands, numerically or otherwise, on the issues presented to you unless or until you reach a unanimous verdict. Court security officer, do you solemnly swear to keep this Jury together in the jury room, and not to permit any person to speak to or communicate with them, concerning this case, nor to do so yourself unless by order of the Court or to ask whether they have agreed on a Court’s Working Draft - Final Instructions 6 February 2015 -19- Coker v. Cartwright 4:11-cv-867-DPM verdict, and to return them into the Courtroom when they have so agreed, or when otherwise ordered by the Court, so help you God? Court’s Working Draft - Final Instructions 6 February 2015 -20- Coker v. Cartwright 4:11-cv-867-DPM

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