All jurors are required to be on time. Since each juror must hear all the evidence, tardiness will cause a delay and inconvenience the judge, lawyers, parties, witnesses, and your fellow jurors. Please be on time!
When a court session begins and the judge enters the courtroom, everyone in the courtroom rises. The lawyers and parties may also stand when the jury enters the courtroom. You will sit in the same seat in the jury box throughout the trial.
Before the judge gives the case to the jury for deliberations, you are not allowed to discuss anything about the case with other jurors, your family, friends, or anyone else. You may not read about the case in the media or on the internet. You may not post anything about the case on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, or anywhere else. This is extremely important. If you know that another juror is doing any of these things, you must report it to the bailiff, who will let the judge know.
Before the trial starts, the judge will tell you that no one is allowed to talk to you. The attorneys are not even supposed to say hello if they see you in the hall or outside. They are not being rude, but following the judge’s orders If anyone approaches you or talks to you, report it promptly and privately to the trial judge or the bailiff.
If you have any questions while the trial is ongoing, do not hesitate to ask the judge. This includes any bit of evidence that you may fail to hear or see. Remember that you will base your verdict on only the evidence you hear or see in court. Pay careful attention to every question and answer. If you can’t hear something, please tell the judge. A juror can leave to have lunch and to go home at night, but he cannot discuss the case with anyone, even with a member of his family. If someone tries to talk to him about the case, the juror must prevent it. Only in rare cases are juries sequestered, or kept away from their homes continuously during a trial.
In deciding a case, jurors are expected to use their life experience, common sense, and common knowledge, but they are not to rely on any private source of information. It follows that a juror should never make an independent investigation or inspect the scene of an accident or other event involved in the case. The judge will order the jury to inspect a place involved in the case if it is proper. If a juror learns of something that the judge should know about, the juror must ask to see him. He should send a message through the bailiff or court clerk.
There are usually several court staff who assist the judge during a trial. The court reporter makes a verbatim record of everything said, which can be transcribed later if necessary. The bailiff enforces order in the courtroom and cares for the needs of the jury. The clerk of the court keeps the records, books, and papers of all actions and of the business of the court. Lawyers will also often have assistants who help them during a trial.
Important: The information on this website is not intended to take the place of the instructions given by the judge in any case. Should you see a conflict, the trial judge's instructions will prevail.