Jury Duty – What to Expect

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September 13, 2022

JURY DUTY – WHAT TO EXPECT, PART 3 of our  4 Part Jury Series – LAWYERS AND EVIDENCE

You’ve made it through the selection process and now you’re on the petit jury. By now you’ve been given a tag to wear identifying you as a juror. The judge will instruct you not to speak to any of the lawyers, parties or witnesses if you run into them during a break. This will avoid even the appearance of anything improper during the proceedings.

The Jury Box
The Jury
quote

The courtroom is arranged such that the judge’s bench and a work area for the judge’s clerk is at the very front of the courtroom.

The jury box, consisting of two rows of seats behind a low partition, is located on one side of the courtroom. A witness box, from which the witnesses will testify, is located on the side of the judge’s bench closes to the jury box. There will be two large tables for the parties and their lawyers located in front of a partition separating public seating. The plaintiff’s table is the one located closest to the jury box.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

You’ll probably be provided with a notebook and a pen so that you can take notes if you want. Sometimes you will be provided with a “Jurors’ Notebook” prepared by the lawyers and containing some of the key exhibits you will see during the trial.

The judge will give you some preliminary instructions about your duties as a juror and about the conduct of the trial. The judge will also instruct you that while you are to consider the evidence presented, statements of the lawyers are not evidence.

Next, the lawyers for the parties will give opening statements. This is the lawyers’ opportunity to introduce their clients tell you what they believe the evidence will show.

After opening statements, the plaintiff will call his/her/its witnesses. The plaintiff’s lawyer will question the witnesses, and through them introduce documents and maybe other things as evidence.

There may be objections to questions asked the witness or to documents or other things offered into evidence. The judge will rule on these objections. The judge may call the lawyers up to the judge’s bench to discuss an objection or other matter outside the hearing of the jury. When the plaintiff’s lawyer finishes questioning a witness, the lawyer for the defendant may question the witness by cross examination. Again, the judge will rule on any objections as above. When the defendant’s lawyer has finished, then the plaintiff’s lawyer may ask more questions on redirect examination.

 

After the lawyers have finished questioning a witness, the jurors will be given the opportunity to ask questions of the witness. The judge will ask the jury whether there are any questions.  If you want to ask a question, you simply write it down on a piece of paper and hand it to the bailiff, who will then pass it on to the judge. The judge and the lawyers will discuss the question and if there is no sustained objection, the judge will read the question to the witness.

THE PLAINTIFF RESTS

At some point in this process, you will hear the plaintiff’s lawyer inform the court that the plaintiff rests. The defendant’s lawyer can then call defendant’s own witnesses and offer into evidence defendant’s own exhibits. Again, the jurors will be allowed to ask questions if they want. After the defendant rests, the plaintiff will be given an opportunity to call or recall witnesses and offer exhibits to rebut the defendant’s evidence.

At some points during the trial there may be breaks in the action and the jury is just sitting around doing nothing. These are usually few. If it seems like everyone is just wasting time, please understand that that is not true. Sometimes during trial, things come up that must be discussed and resolved by the judge and the lawyers before the trial can continue. In our experience, judges are very good at pushing things along so that jurors’ time is not wasted. The judge and the lawyers are all keenly aware of the importance of your service and the sacrifice of your time. They are doing their best not to waste it.

After the parties have called all their witnesses and offered all their exhibits, the judge will allow the lawyers to make closing arguments to the jury. Here the lawyers try to put the evidence in the best light possible for their clients and urge you to find in their respective clients’ favor. When the arguments are finished, it’s in your hands. We’ll cover that in the next Badger Blog post.

If you’ve been injured and need a lawyer who will fight for your rights, call Law Badgers at 1.833.383.4448 (833 DTF IGHT) or email us at info@lawbadgers.com. We’re here to help.

Learn more about our car accident practice here:

https://lawbadgers.com/phoenix-arizona-practice-areas/phoenix-arizona-car-accidents/

Learn more about our criminal law practice here:

https://lawbadgers.com/phoenix-arizona-practice-areas/criminal-law/

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