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Summary Charts and Demonstratives in the Jury Room

While demonstratives are usually excluded from the jury room during deliberations, a trial court can allow their use at its discretion. In United States v. Natale, 719 F.3d 719 (7th Cir. 2013), the Court of Appeals affirmed the district court's denial of a motion for a new trial by a defendant whose motion was based on the fact that the jury was allowed to use demonstratives during their deliberations. It concluded that the court did not abuse its discretion because:

1. Both sides were given the opportunity to give the jury demonstratives.

2. The demonstratives accurately represented evidence.

3. The demonstratives did not transport counsel to the jury room since labels were removed and the jury would have to identify their content by recalling testimony.

Taking the labels off a demonstrative exhibit can help separate it from an expert's testimony about the demonstrative.

Summary charts are real evidence which a jury can review during deliberations. Federal Rule of Evidence 1006 allows summary charts or calculations to be used to show the content of voluminous records, so long as the originals can be examined by other parties. This type of summary chart is based on admissible evidence. A pedagogical device summary is used to assist the jury in reviewing testimony or admitted exhibits, and a court may not permit it to be used during deliberations.


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