California, United States of America
The following excerpt is from People v. Walker, A135326 (Cal. App. 2014):
meaning different from the meanings in everyday use, they would be specifically instructed on those meanings; otherwise, "[w]ords and phrases . . . are to be applied using their ordinary everyday meaning." Likewise, the jury was instructed (twice) not to "use a dictionary, the Internet, or reference materials," and to follow the law as explained by the court, even if the jury disagreed with it, and even "[i]f you believe that the attorneys' comments on the law conflict with my instructions . . . ." The jurors were also instructed at the start of trial: "Nothing that the attorneys say is evidence. In their opening statements and closing arguments, the attorneys will discuss the case, but their remarks are not evidence." In our view, these instructions taken as a whole were sufficient to put the attorneys' dueling dictionary definitions of "deliberately" during closing arguments in their proper perspective for the jury. We conclude that viewed "in the context of the instructions as a whole and the trial record," and not " 'in artificial isolation,' " there was no instructional ambiguity. (Estelle v. McGuire, supra, 502 U.S. at p. 72.)
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