CriminalCriminal

Federal Jury Charge Bank Fraud

By November 18, 2016 No Comments

In any jury trial there are, in effect, two judges. I am one of the judges; the other is the
jury. It is my duty to preside over the trial and to decide what evidence is proper for your
consideration. It is also my duty at the end of the trial to explain to you the rules of law that
you must follow and apply in arriving at your verdict.

First, I will give you some general instructions which apply in every case, for example,
instructions about burden of proof and how to judge the believability of witnesses. Then I will
give you some specific rules of law about this particular case, and finally I will explain to you
the procedures you should follow in your deliberations.

You, as jurors, are the judges of the facts. But in determining what actually

CHARGE OF THE COURT – Page 1
happened-that is, in reaching your decision as to the facts-it is your sworn duty to follow all
of the rules of law as I explain them to you.

You have no right to disregard or give special attention to any one instruction, or to
question the wisdom or correctness of any rule I may state to you. You must not substitute or
follow your own notion or opinion as to what the law is or ought to be. It is your duty to
apply the law as I explain it to you, regardless of the consequences.

It is also your duty to base your verdict solely upon the evidence, without prejudice or
sympathy for or against a defendant. That was the promise you made and the oath you took
before being accepted by the parties as jurors, and they have the right to expect nothing less.
The indictment or formal charge against a defendant is not evidence of guilt. Indeed,
each defendant is presumed by the law to be innocent. The law does not require a defendant
to prove his innocence or produce any evidence at all and no inference whatever may be
drawn from the election of a defendant not to testify. The government has the burden of
proving each defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and if it fails to do so, you must
acquit the defendant.

While the government’s burden of proof is a strict or heavy burden, it is not necessary
that a defendant’s guilt be proved beyond all possible doubt. It is only required that the
government’s proof exclude any “reasonable doubt” concerning the defendant’s guilt.
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A “reasonable doubt” is a doubt based upon reason and common sense after careful and
impartial consideration of all the evidence in the case. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt,
therefore, is proof of such a convincing character that you would be willing to rely and act
upon it without hesitation in the most important of your own affairs. If you are convinced that
the accused has been proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, say so. If you are not
convinced, say so.

As I told you earlier, it is your duty to determine the facts. In doing so, you must
consider only the evidence presented during the trial, including the sworn testimony of the
witnesses and the exhibits. Remember that any statements, objections, or arguments made by
the lawyers are not evidence. The function of the lawyers is to point out those things that are
most significant or most helpful to their side of the case, and in so doing to call your attention
to certain facts or inferences that might otherwise escape your notice. In the final analysis,
however, it is your own recollection and interpretation of the evidence that controls in the
case. What the lawyers say is not binding upon you.
Also, do not assume from anything I may have done or said during the trial that I have
any opinion concerning any of the issues in this case. Except for the instructions to you on the
law, you should disregard anything I may have said during the trial in arriving at your own
findings as to the facts.

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While you should consider only the evidence, you are permitted to draw such
reasonable inferences from the testimony and exhibits as you feel are justified in the light of
common experience. In other words, you may make deductions and reach conclusions that
reason and common sense lead you to draw from the facts which have been established by the
evidence.

In considering the evidence you may make deductions and reach conclusions which
reason and common sense lead you to make; and you should not be concerned about whether
the evidence is direct or circumstantial. “Direct evidence” is the testimony of one who asserts
actual knowledge of a fact, such as an eye witness. “Circumstantial evidence” is proof of a
chain of facts and circumstances indicating that the defendant is either guilty or not guilty.
The law makes no distinction between the weight you may give to either direct or
circumstantial evidence.

I remind you that it is your job to decide whether the government has proved the guilt
of each defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. In doing so, you must consider all of the
evidence. This does not mean, however, that you must accept all of the evidence as true or
accurate.

You are the sole judges of the credibility or “believability” of each witness and the
weight to be given the witness’s testimony. An important part of your job will be making
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judgments about the testimony of the witnesses, including each defendant, who testified in this
case. You should decide whether you believe what each person had to say, and how important
that testimony was. In making that decision I suggest that you ask yourself a few questions:
Did the person impress you as honest? Did the witness have any particular reason not to tell
the truth? Did the witness have a personal interest in the outcome of the case? Did the
witness have any relationship with either the government or the defense? Did the witness
seem to have a good memory? Did the witness have the opportunity and ability to understand
the questions clearly and answer them directly? Did the witness’s testimony differ from the
testimony of other witnesses? These are a few of the considerations that will help you
determine the accuracy of what each witness said.

[The testimony of each defendant should be weighed and their individual credibility
evaluated in the same way as that of any other witness].

The testimony of a witness may be discredited or impeached by showing that he
previously made statements which are inconsistent with his present testimony. The earlier
contradictory statements are admissible only to impeach the credibility of the witness, and not
to establish the truth of these statements. It is the province of the jury to determine the
credibility, if any, to be given the testimony of a witness who has been impeached. If you
believe that a witness has been discredited in this manner, it is your exclusive right to given
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the testimony of that witness whatever weight you think it deserves. I remind you that a
defendant has the right not to testify. When a defendant does testify, however, her testimony
should be weighed and her credibility evaluated in the same way as that of any other witness.
In making up your mind and reaching a verdict, do not make any decisions simply
because there were more witnesses on one side than on the other. Do not reach a conclusion
on a particular point just because there were more witnesses testifying for one side on that
point. Your job is to think about the testimony of each witness you have heard and decide
how much you believe of what each witness had to say.

You are here to decide whether the government has proved beyond a reasonable doubt
that the defendant is guilty of the crime charged. The defendant is not on trial for any act,
conduct, or offense not alleged in the indictment. Neither are you concerned with the guilt of
any other person or persons not on trial as a defendant in this case.

Counts One and Three of the indictment charge defendants, Paola Garcia and Teresa
Guerrero, with the offense of False Representation of Social Security Number, in violation of
Title 42, United States Code, Section 408(a)(7)(B).

Title 42, United States Code, Section 408(a)(7)(B), makes it a crime for anyone, with
\ intent to deceive, lo falsely represent a number to be the social security account number
^-assigned by therCommissioner of Social Security to her.

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For you to find each defendant guilty of this crime, you must be convinced that the
government has proved each of the following beyond a reasonable doubt:
That on or about the date and location alleged in Counts One and Three of the
indictment:

First for the purpose of obtaining a loan;
Second: each defendant with intent to deceive;
Third: falsely represented a number to be the social security account
number assigned by the Commissioner of Social Security to her; and
Fourth: that number was not the social security account number assigned by
the Commissioner of Social Security to her.

Counts Two and Four of the indictment charge defendants, Paola Garcia and Teresa
Guerrero, with the offense of False Statement, in violation of Title 18, United States Code,
Sections 1001(a)(2) and (3).

Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1001(a)(2) and (3), makes it a crime for anyone
to knowingly and willfully make a materially false statement in a matter within the jurisdiction
of the Executive Branch of the United States Government.
For you to find each defendant guilty of this crime, you must be convinced that the
government has proved each of the following beyond a reasonable doubt:
That on or about the date and location alleged in Counts Two and Four of the
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indictment:
First the defendant made a false statement to the Federal Housing J
A d m i n i s t r a t i o n ; ^ — S
Second: the defendant made the statement intentionally, knowing it was false;
Third: the statement was material; and
Fourth: the defendant made the false statement for the puipose of
misleading the Federal Housing Administration.

A statement is “material” if it has a natural tendency to influence, or is capable of
influencing, a decision of the Federal Housing Administration.

Intent ordinarily may not be proved directly, because there is no way of fathoming or
scrutinizing the operation of the human mind. But you may infer a defendant’s intent from the
suuounding circumstances. You may consider any statement made by that defendant, and all
other facts and circumstances in evidence which indicate his or her state of mind. It is
reasonable to infer that a person ordinarily intends the natural and probable consequences of
his or her knowing acts. You may draw the inference that the defendant under consideration
intended all the consequences which one standing in like circumstances and possessing like
knowledge should reasonably have expected to result from any intentional act or conscious
omission. Any such inference drawn is entitled to be considered by you, as the jury, in
determining whether or not the government has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that a
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defendant possessed the required criminal intent.

You may find that a defendant had knowledge of a fact if you find that the defendant
deliberately closed her eyes to what would otherwise have been obvious to her. While
knowledge on the part of the defendant cannot be established merely by demonstrating that the
defendant was negligent, careless, or foolish, knowledge can be inferred if the defendant
deliberately blinded herself to the existence of a fact.

You will note that the indictment charges that the offense was committed “on or
about” a specified date. The government does not have to prove that the crime was
committed on that exact date, so long as the government proves beyond a reasonable doubt
that the defendant committed the crime on a date reasonably near the dates as stated in each
respective count of the indictment.

A separate crime is charged against one or more of the defendants in each count of the
indictment. Each count, and the evidence pertaining to it, should be considered separately.
Also, the case of each defendant should be considered separately and individually. The fact
that you may find one or more of the accused guilty or not guilty of any of the crimes charged
should not control your verdict as to any other crime or any other defendant. You must give
separate consideration to the evidence as to each defendant.

You have heard evidence of acts of the defendant which may be similar to those

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H
charged in the indictment, but which were committed on other occasions. You must not
consider any of this evidence in deciding if the defendant committed the acts charged in the
indictment. However, you may consider this evidence for other, very limited, purposes.
If you find beyond a reasonable doubt from other evidence in this case that the
defendant did commit the acts charged in the indictment, then you may consider evidence of
the similar acts allegedly committed on other occasions to determine:

\ Whether the defendant had the state of mind or intent necessary to commit the crime
charged in the indictmeruTyhether the defendant had a motive or the opportunity to commit
the acts charged in the indictment;\whether the defendant acted according to a plan or in
preparation for commission of a crime; whether the defendant committed the acts for which
she is on trial by accident or mistake.

These are the limited purposes for which any evidence of other similar acts may be
considered.

If a defendant is found guilty, it will be my duty to decide what the punishment will be.
You should not be concerned with punishment in any way. It should not enter your
consideration or discussion.

To reach a verdict, all of you must agree. Your verdict must be unanimous on each
count of the indictment. Your deliberations will be secret. You will never have to explain
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your verdict to anyone.

You are here to decide whether the government has proved beyond a reasonable doubt
that the defendant is guilty of the crimes charged. The defendant is not on trial for any act,
conduct, or offense not alleged in the indictment. Neither are you concerned with the guilt of
any other person or persons not on trial as defendant in this case.

To reach a verdict, whether it is guilty or not guilty, all of you must agree. Your
verdict must be unanimous on each count of the indictment. Your deliberations will be secret.
You will never have to explain your verdict to anyone.

It is your duty to consult with one another and to deliberate in an effort to reach
agreement if you can do so. Each of you must decide the case for yourself, but only after an
impartial consideration of the evidence with your fellow jurors. During your deliberations, do
not hesitate to reexamine your own opinions and change your mind if convinced that you were
wrong. But do not give up your honest beliefs as to the weight or effect of the evidence solely
because of the opinion of your fellow jurors, or for the mere purpose of returning a verdict.
Remember at all times, you are judges-judges of the facts. Your sole duty is to decide
whether the government has proved the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. When
you go to the jury room, the first thing that you should do is select one of your number as your
foreperson, who will help to guide your deliberations and will speak for you here in the
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courtroom.
A form of verdict has been prepared for your convenience.

The foreperson will write the unanimous answer of the jury in the space provided for in
each count of the indictment, either guilty or not guilty. At the conclusion of your
deliberations, the foreperson should date and sign the verdict.

If you need to communicate with me during your deliberations, the foreperson should
write the message and give it to the marshal. I will either reply in writing or bring you back
into the court to answer your message.

Bear in mind that you are never to reveal to any person, not even to the court, how the
jury stands, numerically or otherwise, on any count of the indictment, until after you have
reached a unanimous verdict.

Francisco Hernandez

Author Francisco Hernandez

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