What To Expect On A Trial




What To Expect On A Trial


You do not need any special skills or legal knowledge to be a juror.  All you need is an open mind and a readiness to work with the other jurors to make decisions.  You also need to be impartial - in other words, you must not allow your personal feelings and biases to influence your decisions.


As a juror, you will listen to opening statements and closing arguments from both sides of the case.  You will learn about and weigh the evidence the lawyers will present during the trial.  Jurors also decide if witnesses are believable.  At the end, you will be asked to make a decision about the case after you have talked it over with the other jurors.  You may speak to the other jurors about the case only during deliberations.  You may not speak to anyone else about the case until it is over.


During the trial, the judge is the court's presiding officer and the final authority on the law.  The lawyers act as advocates for their sides of the case.  As a juror, you must be impartial.  You are responsible for evaluating the facts and for applying the law to those facts.  The judge's instructions explain the law.  All of these combined efforts preserve fairness and justice in our state and nation. 


Once you are assigned to a courtroom, please synchronize your watch to the clock in the courtroom so that you will return from breaks and lunch at the required time.  If you have any questions, while you are in the courtroom, please speak to your bailiff who is your liaison to the court.


If there is an emergency at home, you can be contacted at the courthouse.  In an emergency, the judge can excuse you at any time during the trial, even during deliberations.  If you are excused, an alternate can take your place.  Of course, the emergency must be significant.  The judge will make the final decision.