Quote Originally Posted by Madeleine74 View Post
Pattern jury instructions read by the judge and given to the jurors for deliberation specify it is up to the jury to decide if a witness' testimony is credible or not, in whole or in part, and it is totally up to them to determine what weight, if any, to give any evidence, including witnesses' testimony.


CREDIBILITY OF WITNESSES (1) Another part of your job as jurors is to decide how credible or believable each witness was. This is your job, not mine. It is up to you to decide if a witness's testimony was believable, and how much weight you think it deserves. You are free to believe everything that a witness said, or only part of it, or none of it at all. But you should act reasonably and carefully in making these decisions.
Of course the jury can believe whatever they want, but the bolded bit is their responsibility in arriving at that belief in a trial. If they are doing their job properly then they would have to in their minds rationalize why some parts should be believed and others not, they are not supposed to cherry pick to conform to preconceived idea. This is something that can be tested on appeal. They should have a reason for arriving at that belief, and it should be a reasonable reason which is evident in what is presented in trial. If they do not do that then they are exhibiting prejudice. In the absence of any evidence to indicate that some parts are not credible how can they conclude that other parts are credible? If the witness is lying in one instance, how do you differentiate between what is and is not truthful in another instance? That is why the judge's instructions included the bolded part. It is a warning so that whatever they find to be factual is not challenged on appeal.

In an appeal the defendant can claim that the jury did not "act reasonable and carefully in making these decisions" and consequently did not abide by the judge's instructions. Then it would be up to the appeal court to decide if a reasonable person should consider the witness to be impeached or not based on what they testified to at trial. If those judges decide that the witness was sufficiently impeached, then they would look at the remainder of the evidence to determine if a reasonable jury would still have arrived at the same verdict if the witness did not testify. In most cases where these sorts of questions arise, they generally find that there is sufficient other evidence presented that the trial would have had the same outcome and consequently deny the appeal. So, in the absence of JA's testimony and based on the other evidence presented, do you think that the state proved beyond reasonable doubt that ZA did the crime? And if so, what is the reasoning for that opinion?