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"Allow Instant Replay in Jury Trials ?" was the provocative title of an article in the current issue of The Florida Bar Journal. As an "out of state"member of the Florida Bar, Virginia Florida bar member Doug Landau routinely reviews the publications of the legal community of the "Sunshine State." In this well-written article, the author posits:

  • In the courtroom, the current equivalent to instant replay is the “read back” of testimony. Simply described, the jury begins deliberation, then requests that certain testimony be read back. However, a Florida jury holds no red flag; nor is it instructed that a read back is allowed, still less what can and cannot be read back."

Given the conflicts within the case law, as well as the simplicity of replaying recorded testimony, the author proposes that at the close of evidence, a new instruction should be read to the jury in order to end the disputes in the above cases. In both civil and criminal cases, the instruction would be titled, “Read Back of Testimony”:

  • “If any of you have questions during your deliberations about any part of the testimony and wish to have parts of the testimony read back to you, please make such a request in writing, giving it to the bailiff which will then be reviewed by me and the parties.”

With such an instruction, the jury instantly would be aware of their right to a read back, thus, ending any “niggling nitpicking.” Click here to read the entire, provocative article. At ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd., Florida Virginia personal injury lawyer Doug Landau is constantly looking for ways to improve our civil jury system. If you have suggestions, please e-mail us or write to us.

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