QUESTION:

Is it standard practice that the DA drafts jury instructions and verdict forms and that the Defense attorney does not submit such, but merely comments, argues &/or opposes such?

ANSWER:

No, I would say it’s the exception when a defense attorney isn’t seeking jury instruction beyond what the prosecution is proposing. And it is something to be mindful of because it can potentially be a symptom of a general lack of preparation on the part of that attorney. BUT, it’s also possible that the DDA proposed all the jury instructions that the defense attorney was looking for – perhaps the two recently did a jury trial together with the same charge and the same affirmative defenses (or lack there of).

Now, if you’re talking strictly about the clerical work of wording the jury instructions and verdict forms to match the gender of the defendant and reflect things like affirmative defenses / relationships of the parties – often the DDA does the editing and presents it to the defense attorney for approval before putting it before the judge.

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