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Introductory Note

The following “sample verdict sheets” are provided for the convenience of the bench. The first is a blank verdict sheet form; the others are applicable in specific cases: the same crime allegedly committed against more than one complaining witness; different crimes defined in the same article of the Penal Law allegedly committed against more than one complaining witness; counts submitted to the jury in the alternative (lesser included offenses); submission of inconsistent counts, together with counts submitted in the alternative; and the submission of counts and an affirmative defense. The CJI Committee recommends that verdict sheets be used in conjunction with the CJI2d charge entitled “Verdict Sheet Explained” found in the "General Charges."

CPL 310.20(2) specifies in detail what a “verdict sheet” may contain.  It reads:

"Upon retiring to deliberate, the jurors may take with them: ... A written list prepared by the court containing the offenses submitted to the jury by the court in its charge and the possible verdicts thereon.  Whenever the court submits two or more counts charging offenses set forth in the same article of the law, the court may set forth the dates, names of complainants or specific statutory language, without defining the terms, by which the counts may be distinguished; provided, however, that the court shall instruct the jury in its charge that the sole purpose of the notations is to distinguish between the counts." 

Under that statute's authorization to list the "possible verdicts," the Court of Appeals has held that a verdict sheet may also include: "a direction regarding the order in which the submitted charges should be considered." People v Cole, 85 N.Y.2d 990, 992 (1995); People v.  Collins, 99 N.Y.2d 14 (2000).  The Court has also approved of a verdict sheet that included dates and the names of the victims. People v. Brown, 90 N.Y.2d 872 (1997).

The inclusion on the verdict sheet, without the consent of the parties, of items not authorized by statute is reversible error.  People v. Damiano, 87 N.Y.2d 477 (1996)(The statute was amended after the decision in Damiano to permit the inclusion of some items Damiano and its predecessors held were precluded by the statute.)  Damiano added that, as evidence of counsels' consent, "we commend the practice of counsels' initialing the verdict sheet after the trial court presents it for their review."  Id. at 483.




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Blank Verdict Sheet



Affirmative Defense of Extreme Emotional Disturbance



Affirmative Defense of Not Responsible by Reason of Mental Disease or Defect



Alternative Counts (Lesser Included Offenses)



Inconsistent Counts and Alternate Counts






Multiple Complaining Witnesses & Same Crime



Multiple Complaining Witnesses & Crimes in Same Penal Law Article


Enterprise Corruption Count PDF