Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Review of Jury Instructions on Appeal

Below is a summary of the law on appealing jury instruction which may be helpful.

“The giving or refusal of jury instructions by a circuit court is reviewed under an abuse-of-discretion standard.”  Howell v. Equip. Inc., 170 So. 3d 592, 599 (¶16) (Miss. Ct. App. 2014).  “[T]his Court does not review jury instructions in isolation; rather, they are read as a whole to determine if the jury was properly instructed.”  Mitchell v. Barnes, 96 So. 3d 771, 775 (¶9) (Miss. Ct. App. 2012) (quoting Burton ex rel. Bradford v. Barnett, 615 So. 2d 580, 583 (Miss. 1993)).  “Defects in specific instructions do not require reversal where all instructions taken as a whole fairly—although not perfectly—announce the applicable primary rules of law.”  Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). 
“However, if those instructions do not fairly or adequately instruct the jury, we can and will reverse.”  Id. "When analyzing the grant or refusal of a jury instruction, two questions should be asked: 
Does the instruction contain a correct statement of law and is the instruction warranted by the evidence?”  Mitchell, 96 So. 3d at 775 (¶9) (quoting Beverly Enters. Inc. v. Reed, 961 So. 2d 40, 43 (¶8) (Miss. 2007)).  With respect to the latter question, a “defendant is entitled to have jury instructions given which present his theory of the case” when there exists a “foundation in the evidence” for the instructions.  Coho Resources Inc. v. McCarthy, 829 So. 2d 1, 23 (¶69) (Miss. 2002) (quoting  Higgins v. State, 725 So. 2d 220, 223 (Miss. 1998)).

No comments:

Post a Comment