Serving jury duty has always been a "banausic, Tartarean nisus in reconditeness." Now, in California, it may just plain "suck."

The Judicial Council of California has approved over 2,000 pages of new criminal jury instructions. The group spent eight years rewriting the language to make it easier to understand and more straightforward. So "willfully false" has become "lied." "Innocent misrecollection" has been changed to "honestly forget."

The council made numerous other changes to more than 70 years of garbled legal language. Now, judges will be speaking to jurors in plain English. Unfortunately, understanding jury instructions doesn't make jury duty any more fun.

In the March issue of Governing, Alan Greenblatt looked at efforts nationwide to make jury instructions easier to comprehend (eighth item).

Los Angeles Times: California Courts Adopt Simpler Jury Guide