Booker v. Ervin et al
ORDER regarding jury instructions for the hearing scheduled on Monday, November 18, 2019. To the extent that either party has any objections or suggested charge to these instructions, that party shall raise the objection at the pretrial conference on Friday, November 15, 2019. Signed by Chief Judge J. Randal Hall on 11/13/2019. (jlh)
IN THE UNITED
STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
JARVIS DEMON BOOKER,
The remaining claim in this case is Plaintiff's excessive force
claim for nominal damages against Defendant Ervin.
The case is scheduled
for jury selection and trial on Monday, November 18, 2019, in Statesboro,
preliminarily and forwards herewith its expected jury instructions in a
case of this type.
To the extent that either party has any objection
to these instructions or has any suggested charge that differs from the
jury instructions attached hereto, that party shall raise the objection
at the pretrial conference on Friday, November 15, 2019.
ORDER ENTERED at Augusta, Georgia, this
ay of November,
J.VE^NDAL HALL< CHIEF JUDGE
UNIT^ STATES DISTRICT COURT
5QLMERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
JARVIS DEMON BOOKER,
Members of the Jury:
I will now explain to you the rules of law that you must
follow and apply in deciding this case.
When I have finished you will go to the jury room and begin
your discussions -- what we call your deliberations.
In deciding the case you must follow and apply all of the law
as I explain it to you, whether you agree with that law or not;
and you must not let your decision be influenced in any way by
sympathy, or by prejudice, for or against anyone.
In your deliberations you should consider only the evidence
-- that is, the testimony of the witnesses and the exhibits I have
admitted in the record -- but as you consider the evidence, both
direct and circumstantial,
"Direct evidence" is the
testimony of one
who asserts actual
knowledge of a fact, such as an eye witness.
evidence" is proof of a chain of facts and circumstances tending
to prove, or disprove, any fact in dispute.
The law makes no
distinction between the weight you may give to either direct or
Remember that nothing the lawyers say is evidence in the case.
And, except for my instructions to you on the law, you should
disregard anything I may have said during the trial in arriving at
your decision concerning the facts.
It is your own recollection
and interpretation of the evidence that controls.
Credibility of Witnesses
When I say you must consider all the evidence, I do not mean
that you must accept all the evidence as true or accurate. You
should decide whether you believe what each witness had to say,
and how important that testimony was. In making that decision you
may believe or disbelieve any witness, in whole or in part. The
number of witnesses testifying concerning a particular point does
not necessarily matter.
To decide whether you believe any witness I suggest that you
ask yourself a few questions:
• Did the witness impress you as one who was telling the truth?
• Did the witness have any particular reason not to tell the
• Did the witness have a personal interest in the outcome of
• Did the witness seem to have a good memory?
• Did the witness have the opportunity and ability to accurately
observe the things he or she testified about?
• Did the witness appear to understand the questions clearly
and answer them directly?
• Did the witness's testimony differ from other testimony or
Impeachment of Witnesses:
Inconsistent Statement or Felony Conviction
tending to prove that the witness testified falsely concerning
some important fact; or, whether there was evidence that at some
other time the witness said or did something, or failed to say or
do something, which was different from the testimony the witness
gave before you during the trial.
You may also consider the fact
involving dishonesty or a false statement.
You should keep in mind, of course, that a simple mistake by
a witness does not necessarily mean that the
truth as he
witness was not
or she remembers it, because
naturally tend to forget some things or remember other things
So, if a witness has made a misstatement, you need
to consider whether that misstatement was simply an innocent lapse
of memory or an intentional falsehood; and the significance of
that may depend on whether it has to do with an important fact or
with only an unimportant detail.
Consideration of Direct and Circumstantial Evidence;
Argument of Counsel; Comments by the Court
As I said before, you must consider only the evidence that I
have admitted in the case. Evidence includes the testimony of
witnesses and the exhibits admitted.
Again, nothing the lawyers
say is evidence and is not binding on you.
You should not assume from anything I have said that I have
any opinion about any factual issue in this case. Except for my
instructions to you on the law, you should disregard anything I
may have said during the trial in arriving at your own decision
about the facts.
Your own recollection and interpretation of the
evidence is what matters.
In considering the evidence you may use reasoning and common
sense to make deductions and reach conclusions. You should not be
concerned about whether the evidence is direct or circumstantial.
Responsibility for Proof—Plaintiffs Claim;
Preponderance of the Evidence
In this case it is the responsibility of the Plaintiff, Jarvis
Demon Booker, to prove every essential part of his claim by a
the evidence." This is sometimes called the
"burden of proof" or the "burden of persuasion."
A "preponderance of the evidence" simply means an amount of
evidence that is enough to persuade you that the Plaintiff's claim
is more likely true than not true.
If the proof fails to establish any essential part of a claim
or contention by a preponderance of the evidence, you should find
against the Plaintiff.
preponderance of the evidence, you may consider the testimony of
all of the witnesses, regardless of who may have called them, and
all of the exhibits received in evidence, regardless of who may
have produced them.
If the proof fails to establish any essential part of the
Plaintiff's claim by a preponderance of the evidence, you should
find for the Defendant as to that claim.
civil Rights - 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Claims - Eighth Amendment Claim
- Convicted Prisoner Alleging Excessive Force
In this case. Plaintiff Jarvis Demon Booker claims that the
intentionally violated Mr. Booker's Eighth Amendment right as a
prisoner to be free from cruel and unusual punishment.
convicted of a crime or a criminal offense has the right not to
be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. This includes the
right not to be assaulted or beaten without legal justification
To succeed on this claim, Mr. Booker must prove each of the
following facts by a preponderance of the evidence:
That Officer Ervin intentionally used force
against Mr. Booker on August 31, 2015;
That the force used against Mr. Booker by Officer
Ervin was excessive;
Booker's injuries; and
That Officer Ervin acted under color of law.
You must decide whether any force used in this case was
excessive based on whether the force, if any, was applied in a
good-faith effort to maintain or restore discipline, or instead
consider the amount
of force used in relationship to the need presented; the motive
of Defendant; the extent of the injury inflicted; and any effort
officers may not maliciously or sadistically use force to cause
prisoner. But not every push or shove—even if it later seems
always has the right to use the reasonable force that is necessary
under the circumstances to maintain order and ensure compliance
with jail or prison regulations.
For the third element, Officer Ervin's conduct caused Mr.
Booker's injuries if
Mr. Booker would
reasonably foreseeable consequence of Officer Ervin's conduct.
For the fourth element, you must decide whether Officer Ervin
color" of law when he acts within the limits of lawful authority.
He also acts under color of law when he claims to be performing
an official duty but his acts are outside the limits of lawful
authority and abusive in manner, or he acts in a way that misuses
his power and is able to do so only because he is an official.
If you find Mr. Booker has proved each of the facts he must
prove, you must find for Mr. Booker and consider the issue of
If you find that Mr. Booker has not proved each of these
facts, then you must find for Officer Ervin.
Reasonableness of Officer's Decision
In evaluating the reasonableness of an officer's decision,
you must allow for the fact that officers are often forced to make
uncertain, and rapidly evolving -- about the amount of force that
is necessaiy in a particular situation.
The reasonableness of the
reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision
The Court has determined as a matter of law that Plaintiff
can recover nominal damages only.
This is because a person whose
constitutional rights were violated is entitled to a recognition
constitutional rights, then you may award nominal damages, for
Duty to Deliberate
interpreted in any way as an indication that I believe that the
Plaintiff should, or should not, prevail in this case.
Any verdict you reach in the jury room must be unanimous. In
deliberations will be secret; you will never have to explain your
verdict to anyone.
It is your duty as jurors to discuss the case with one another
in an effort to reach agreement if you can do so. Each of you must
decide the case for yourself, but only after full consideration of
the evidence with the other members of the jury. While you are
discussing the case do not hesitate to re-examine your own opinion
and change your mind if you become convinced that you were wrong.
But do not give up your honest beliefs solely because the others
think differently or merely to get the case over with.
Remember, that in a very real way you are judges --
judges of the facts. Your only interest is to seek the truth from
the evidence in the case.
Election of Foreperson;
Explanation of Verdict Form
When you go to the jury room you should first select one of
your members to act as
preside over your deliberations and will speak for you here in
A form of verdict has been prepared for your convenience.
You will take the verdict form to the jury room and when you
have reached unanimous agreement, you will have your foreperson
fill in the verdict form, date and sign it, and then return to the
If you should desire to communicate with me at any time,
please write down your message or question and pass the note to
the court security officer, who will bring it to my attention.
will then respond as promptly as possible, either in writing or by
having you returned to the courtroom so that I can address you
I caution you, however, with regard to any message or
question you might send, that you should not tell me how many
jurors have voted one way or the other at that time.
information must remain in the jury room and not be shared with
anyone, including me.
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?