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California Code of Civil Procedure
Title 8. of the Trial and Judgment in Civil Actions

607 - 619

Article 2 -- Conduct of the Trial

607. When the jury has been sworn, the trial must proceed in the following order, unless the court, for special reasons otherwise directs:
1. The plaintiff may state the issue and his case;
2. The defendant may then state his defense, if he so wishes, or wait until after plaintiff has produced his evidence;
3. The plaintiff must then produce the evidence on his part;
4. The defendant may then open his defense, if he has not done so previously;
5. The defendant may then produce the evidence on his part;
6. The parties may then respectively offer rebutting evidence only, unless the court, for good reason, in furtherance of justice, permit them to offer evidence upon their original case;
7. When the evidence is concluded, unless the case is submitted to the jury on either side or on both sides without argument, the plaintiff must commence and may conclude the argument;
8. If several defendants having separate defenses, appear by different counsel, the court must determine their relative order in the evidence and argument;
9. The court may then charge the jury.

607a. In every case which is being tried before the court with a jury, it shall be the duty of counsel for the respective parties, before the first witness is sworn, to deliver to the judge presiding at the trial and serve upon opposing counsel, all proposed instructions to the jury covering the law as disclosed by the pleadings. Thereafter, and before the commencement of the argument, counsel may deliver to such judge, and serve upon opposing counsel, additional proposed instructions to the jury upon questions of law developed by the evidence and not disclosed by the pleadings. All proposed instructions shall be typewritten, each on a separate sheet of paper. Before the commencement of the argument, the court, on request of counsel, must:
(1) decide whether to give, refuse, or modify the proposed instructions;
(2) decide which instructions shall be given in addition to those proposed, if any; and
(3) advise counsel of all instructions to be given. However, if, during the argument, issues are raised which have not been covered by instructions given or refused, the court may, on request of counsel, give additional instructions on the subject matter thereof.

608. In charging the jury the Court may state to them all matters of law which it thinks necessary for their information in giving their verdict; and, if it state the testimony of the case, it must inform the jury that they are the exclusive judges of all questions of fact. The Court must furnish to either party, at the time, upon request, a statement in writing of the points of law contained in the charge, or sign, at the time, a statement of such points prepared and submitted by the counsel of either party.

609. Where either party asks special instructions to be given to the jury, the Court must either give such instruction, as requested, or refuse to do so, or give the instruction with a modification, in such manner that it may distinctly appear what instructions were given in whole or in part.

611. If the jury are permitted to separate, either during the trial or after the case is submitted to them, they shall be admonished by the Court that it is their duty not to converse with, or suffer themselves to be addressed by any other person, on any subject of the trial, and that it is their duty not to form or express an opinion thereon until the case is finally submitted to them.

612. Upon retiring for deliberation the jury may take with them all papers which have been received as evidence in the cause, except depositions, or copies of such papers as ought not, in the opinion of the court, to be taken from the person having them in possession; and they may also take with them any exhibits which the court may deem proper, notes of the testimony or other proceedings on the trial, taken by themselves or any of them, but none taken by any other person.

612.5. Upon the jury retiring for deliberation, the court shall advise the jury of the availability of a written copy of the jury instructions. The court may, at its discretion, provide the jury with a copy of the written instructions given. However, if the jury requests the court to supply a copy of the written instructions, the court shall supply the jury with a copy.

613. When the case is finally submitted to the jury, they may decide in Court or retire for deliberation; if they retire, they must be kept together, in some convenient place, under charge of an officer, until at least three-fourths of them agree upon a verdict or are discharged by the Court. Unless by order of the Court, the officer having them under his charge must not suffer any communication to be made to them, or make any himself, except to ask them if they or three-fourths of them are agreed upon a verdict, and he must not, before their verdict is rendered, communicate to any person the state of their deliberations, or the verdict agreed upon.

614. After the jury have retired for deliberation, if there be a disagreement between them as to any part of the testimony, or if they desire to be informed of any point of law arising in the cause, they may require the officer to conduct them into Court. Upon their being brought into Court, the information required must be given in the presence of, or after notice to, the parties or counsel.

614.5. Except for good cause shown, the judge in his or her discretion need not be present in the court while testimony previously received in evidence is read to the jury.

616. In all cases where the jury are discharged without having rendered a verdict, or are prevented from giving a verdict, by reason of accident or other cause, during the progress of the trial, or after the cause is submitted to them, except as provided in Section 630, the action may be again tried immediately, or at a future time, as the court may direct.

617. While the jury are absent the Court may adjourn from time to time, in respect to other business; but it is nevertheless open for every purpose connected with the cause submitted to the jury, until a verdict is rendered or the jury discharged. The Court may direct the jury to bring in a sealed verdict, at the opening of the Court, in case of an agreement during a recess or adjournment for the day.

618. When the jury, or three-fourths of them, have agreed upon a verdict, they must be conducted into court and the verdict rendered by their foreperson. The verdict must be in writing, signed by the foreperson, and must be read to the jury by the clerk, and the inquiry made whether it is their verdict. Either party may require the jury to be polled, which is done by the court or clerk, asking each juror if it is the juror's verdict. If upon inquiry or polling, more than one-fourth of the jurors disagree thereto, the jury must be sent out again, but if no disagreement is expressed, the verdict is complete and the jury discharged from the case.

619. When the verdict is announced, if it is informal or insufficient, in not covering the issue submitted, it may be corrected by the jury under the advice of the Court, or the jury may be again sent out.


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For information purposes only, not to be considered legal advice. If you require legal advice please contact an attorney.
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