What To Expect During A Trial
Throughout the day, jurors may come and go from the
Jury Assemble where they may be selected randomly to report to either a civil
or criminal courtroom. The judge in the courtroom will provide
additional instructions that are specific to the case and
introduce the lawyers involved.
of Jurors -
When you are called to the courtroom for a particular case, a juror’s
name will be randomly drawn and instructed to take a numbered seat in the
jury box at the start of the trial. The lawyers in the case have the
right to ask questions to all jurors seated in the jury box.
They may inquire if you know the parties
to the case, any of the court officials, or if you have served as a juror
previously. It may seem to you
that some of the questions are very personal, but it is not intended that
any question should embarrass or reflect upon a juror in any way. Lawyers
have a duty to their clients to ask proper questions to assist them in
deciding which jurors to select and to excuse a potential juror for any
When the required number of jurors has
been selected for a trial, these jurors are sworn to try the case. This
is called "impaneling" the jury.
Tried by a Jury
- Cases which come before a trial jury are divided into two general
classes: civil and criminal.
Civil cases are those in which the parties come into court
to determine and settle their respective rights. The person who brings an
action against another is the "plaintiff." The person against
whom the action is brought is the "defendant."
Criminal cases are those in which action is brought by the
government on behalf of all citizens to try persons charged with the
violation of criminal laws. In a criminal case, the state is the
"prosecutor" and the person accused of the crime is the
Things to Remember During the Trial - After you are
selected as a juror in a case, there are some rules of conduct which you
Do NOT be late for court sessions! The trial cannot
continue without you present.
Always sit in the same seat in the jury box. This enables
the judge, the clerk and the lawyers to identify you more easily.
Listen to every question and answer. Since you must base
your verdict upon the evidence, you should attempt to hear every question
asked and every answer given.
Your decision should be based solely on what you hear in
the courtroom; therefore:
Do NOT talk
about the case. While you are a juror you should not talk to anyone about
the case, including family members or other jurors until instructed to do
so by the judge during the deliberation phase of the trial. After arguments of the lawyers and
instructions by the judge as to the law, you will then be instructed by
the judge to retire to the jury room and being your deliberations.
discuss what is going on or being said by you or other jurors during jury
deliberation. Simply put ‘what goes
on in the jury deliberation room stays in the jury deliberation room’.
Do NOT permit
anyone to talk to you or talk in your presence about the case. If any
person persists in talking to you about the case or attempts to influence
you as a juror, you should report that fact to the judge immediately.
Do NOT read
any articles or materials about the case including in the newspaper or on
Do NOT text,
email, use Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Utube, or any other form of social
media to communicate or comment about what is going on in the courthouse,
courtroom, jury assembly room or jury room.
Do NOT be an
"amateur detective." Since the only evidence you can consider
is that presented in court you are not allowed to make an independent
investigation or to visit any of the places involved in the case.
Conduct In the Jury Room - Your first duty
upon retiring at the close of the case is to select your foreperson. It
is the foreperson's duty to see that discussion is carried on in sensible
and orderly fashion, to see that the issues submitted for your decision
are fully and fairly discussed and that every juror has a chance to say
what he or she thinks about every question. You will vote on the
questions presented to you. When a unanimous decision has been reached,
the foreperson will record your decision and present it to the court.
The foreperson and each juror should see that discussion
in the jury room is never so loud that it can be heard outside. Until a
verdict is announced, no outsider should know what goes on in the jury
Cell Phones and
– Cell phones are to be turned off in all court offices and
courtrooms. Court bailiffs will confiscate cell phones that disrupt a
courtroom! Cell phone use is
permitted in the jury assembly room but should be kept on vibrate.
Cameras are not permitted in the courthouse. At NO TIME should cell
phones be used to photograph, record, or post voice or images on the
Waste of Time? - The most common complaint of jurors is the unexplained
time apparently wasted during jury selection and trials. What might
appear to be a waste of time to you is actually time being used by the
judge and attorneys working on matters that must be done out of the
presence of the jury. These events often arise unexpectedly and cannot be
planned in advance. Please be aware of these issues and bear with the
court as we all work to accomplish our goal of achieving justice for all.