PG V(F) Sequence of Instructions.
[See also FORECITE BIBLIO “When To Instruct” (BIBLIO I)]
The sequence of the instructions is a matter in the discretion of the trial court. (Nungaray v. Pleasant Valley etc Assn. (56) 142 CA2d 653, 661-62 [300 P2d 285].) However, it is also an “obvious fact that the sequence of instructions can, in some cases, result in jury confusion.” (People v. Carrasco (81) 118 CA3d 936, 943 [173 CR 688].) “‘The instructions should be arranged in a logical sequence so that the whole will be intelligible to the jury. Symmetry is as necessary to legal exposition for easy understanding as it is to any other form of literary exposition.’” (Ibid., quoting address of Chief Judge Devitt.) Nor does the CALJIC numbering system necessarily supply the most logical sequence. “The editors of CALJIC could not have meant to sequence the instructions to relieve the court of all initiative and responsibility.” (Carrasco 118 CA3d at 944.)
The following quotation shows how the sequence of the instructions may impact the jury deliberations: “Considering the instructions as a whole, we note that the murder instruction precedes the two voluntary manslaughter instructions. This has significance because just as a supplemental instruction may take on special prominence in the jury’s mind, [citation to Bollenbach v. U.S. (46) 326 US 607, 611-12 [90 LEd 350]] so the murder instruction stands at the top of the jury instruction check-list. Jurors are therefore encouraged by the structure of the instruction to answer its requirements first and then move on only if those requirements cannot be met.” (Falconer v. Lane (7th Cir. 1990) 905 F2d 1121, 1136.)