Argumentative Instruction Law and Legal Definition

Argumentative instruction refers to an instruction that assumes facts not in evidence. It singles out or unduly emphasizes a particular issue, theory, or defense. It also invades the jury’s province regarding the weight, probative value, or sufficiency of the evidence.

Generally, an instruction is objectionable as being argumentative when it directs the jury to look to or consider certain facts as tending toward certain conclusions, or when it suggests to the jury the probable or possible effect of the conduct of one person toward another. In Lay v. Knapp, 93 Ill. App. 3d 855 (Ill. App. Ct. 3d Dist. 1981), it was held that argumentative instructions are adversarial statements highlighting favorable and unfavorable evidence with partisan overtones.