Rule 19. Instructions.
(a) After the jury is sworn and before openingstatements, the court may instruct the jury concerning the jurors' duties andconduct, the order of proceedings, the elements and burden of proof for thealleged crime, and the definition of terms. The court may instruct the juryconcerning any matter stipulated to by the parties and agreed to by the courtand any matter the court in its discretion believes will assist the jurors incomprehending the case. Preliminary instructions shall be in writing and a copyprovided to each juror. At the final pretrial conference or at such other timeas the court directs, a party may file a written request that the courtinstruct the jury on the law as set forth in the request. The court shallinform the parties of its action upon a requested instruction prior toinstructing the jury, and it shall furnish the parties with a copy of itsproposed instructions, unless the parties waive this requirement.
(b) During the course of the trial, the courtmay instruct the jury on the law if the instruction will assist the jurors incomprehending the case. Prior to giving the written instruction, the courtshall advise the parties of its intent to do so and of the content of theinstruction. A party may request an interim written instruction.
(c) At the close of the evidence or at suchearlier time as the court reasonably directs, any party may file writtenrequest that the court instruct the jury on the law as set forth in therequest. At the same time copies of such requests shall be furnished to theother parties. The court shall inform counsel of its proposed action upon therequest; and it shall furnish counsel with a copy of its proposed instructions,unless the parties waive this requirement. Final instructions shall be inwriting and at least one copy provided to the jury. The court shall provide acopy to any juror who requests one and may, in its discretion, provide a copyto all jurors.
(d) Upon each written request so presented andgiven, or refused, the court shall endorse its decision and shall initial orsign it. If part be given and part refused, the court shall distinguish,showing by the endorsement what part of the charge was given and what part wasrefused.
(e) Objections to written instructions shall bemade before the instructions are given to the jury. Objections to oralinstructions may be made after they are given to the jury, but before the juryretires to consider its verdict. The court shall provide an opportunity to makeobjections outside the hearing of the jury. Unless a party objects to aninstruction or the failure to give an instruction, the instruction may not beassigned as error except to avoid a manifest injustice. In stating theobjection the party shall identify the matter to which the objection is madeand the ground of the objection.
(f) The court shall not comment on the evidencein the case, and if the court refers to any of the evidence, it shall instructthe jury that they are the exclusive judges of all questions of fact.
(g) Arguments of the respective parties shall bemade after the court has given the jury its final instructions. Unlessotherwise provided by law, any limitation upon time for argument shall bewithin the discretion of the court.
Effective November 1, 2001