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The Florida Statutes

The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C)

Title V
Chapter 40
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F.S. 40.50
40.50 Jury duty and instructions in civil cases.
(1) In any civil action immediately after the jury is sworn, the court shall instruct the jury concerning its duties, its conduct, the order of proceedings, the procedure for submitting written questions of witnesses, and the legal issues involved in the proceeding.
(2) In any civil action which the court determines is likely to exceed 5 days, the court shall instruct that the jurors may take notes regarding the evidence and keep the notes to refresh their memories and to use during recesses and deliberations. The court may provide materials suitable for this purpose. The court should emphasize the confidentiality of the notes. After the jury has rendered its verdict, any notes shall be collected by the bailiff or clerk who shall promptly destroy them.
(3) The court shall permit jurors to submit to the court written questions directed to witnesses or to the court. The court shall give counsel an opportunity to object to such questions outside the presence of the jury. The court may, as appropriate, limit the submission of questions to witnesses.
(4) The court shall instruct the jury that any questions directed to witnesses or the court must be in writing, unsigned, and given to the bailiff. If the court determines that the juror’s question calls for admissible evidence, the question may be asked by court or counsel in the court’s discretion. Such question may be answered by stipulation or other appropriate means, including, but not limited to, additional testimony upon such terms and limitations as the court prescribes. If the court determines that the juror’s question calls for inadmissible evidence, the question shall not be read or answered. If the court rejects a juror’s question, the court should tell the jury that trial rules do not permit some questions and that the jurors should not attach any significance to the failure of having their question asked.
(5) The court may give final instructions to the jury before closing arguments of counsel to enhance jurors’ ability to apply the law to the facts. In that event, the court may withhold giving the necessary procedural and housekeeping instructions until after closing arguments.
History.s. 1, ch. 99-225.