When appropriate, counsel should object to and argue against improper instructions proposed by the prosecution.
If the court refuses to adopt instructions requested by counsel, or gives instructions over counsel's objection, counsel should take all steps necessary to preserve the record, including, when appropriate, filing a copy of proposed instructions or reading proposed instructions into the record.
During delivery of the charge, counsel should be alert to any deviations from the judge's planned instructions, object to deviations unfavorable to the client, and, when necessary, request additional or curative instructions.
If the court proposes giving supplemental instructions to the jury, either upon request of the jurors or upon their failure to reach a verdict, counsel should request that the judge state the proposed charge to counsel before it is delivered to the jury. Counsel should renew or make new objections to any additional instructions given to the jurors after the jurors have begun their deliberations.
Counsel should reserve the right to make exceptions to the jury instructions above and beyond any specific objections that were made during the trial.
Counsel should move to discuss any jury notes or responses to jury notes regarding substantive matters in open court and on the record, and to include the actual notes and responses in the record for appellate purposes.
Among counsel's obligations in the sentencing process are:
When a client chooses not to proceed to trial, to negotiate the plea agreement with consideration of the sentencing, correctional, financial, and collateral implications;
To object and preserve error so that the client is not harmed by inaccurate information or information that is not properly before the court in determining the sentence to be imposed;
To seek and present to the court all reasonably available mitigating and favorable information that is likely to benefit the client;
To seek the least restrictive and burdensome sentencing alternative that is most acceptable to the client, and that can reasonably be obtained based on the facts and circumstances of the offense, the client's background, the applicable sentencing provisions, and other information pertinent to the sentencing decision;
To object to all information presented to the court that may harm the client and that is not shown to be accurate and truthful or is otherwise improper, and to seek to strike such information from the text of the presentence investigation report before distribution of the report;
To consider the need for and availability of sentencing specialists, and to seek the assistance of such specialists whenever possible and warranted; and