Serving as a Juror 3-4 paragraphs report about what you found interesting about serving as juror or what you did not know before reading this AVOS TRIAL JU
Serving as a Juror 3-4 paragraphs report about what you found interesting about serving as juror or what you did not know before reading this AVOS
TRIAL JUROR’S HANDBOOK
You have been called to serve as a trial. juror in the
Superior Court of Los Angeles County. Such service is a
privilege, a serious responsibility and a mark of good
citizenship. This Handbook will answer some of the most
commonly asked questions and introduce you to your
duties as a juror. Please read it carefully, but understand
that it is general and is not intended to take the place of
instructions given to you by the judge. We look forward to
your participation in the justice system and know that you
will find the experience both interesting and rewarding.
Please understand that California Rules of Court
prohibit jurors from granting interviews to the
media while still serving as jurors,
Upon selection to a jury, a juror becomes an important part
of the judicial system. The jury has the job of deciding facts
in a trial, while the trial judge decides questions of law. A
fair and impartial trial depends on the efforts of the jury as
judges of the facts, the judge as the authority on the law,
and the attorneys as advocates for each side.
HOW IS A JURY SELECTED?
To start the process, a judge in a courtroom requests a
panel of jurors. The computer then randomly selects the
appropriate number of jurors to send to that courtroom.
When you report to the courtroom, you will be required to
take an oath that you will truthfully answer all questions
asked, under penalty of perjury. The judge or attorneys
will let you know what the case is about and how long it is
estimated to last. At this point, you may have a chance to
talk to the judge about any problems or conflicts you may
have. Questions will then be asked to find out whether
you have any biases, prejudices or experiences that
might interfere with your ability to be fair to all sides. If
at any time you have privacy concerns or do not want
to answer a particular question in public, don’t hesitate
to let the judge know you would like to speak privately.
This is commonly done by discussing the issue at the
side of the bench (a “sidebar”).
The law allows the judge to excuse you if something
indicates that you can not be impartial. This is called a
“cause” challenge. There are unlimited cause challenges
available in a trial. For example, if you know or are related
to a witness or party, you can be excused for “cause.”
Each side also has a specific number of “peremptory”
challenges which permit them to excuse jurors without
giving an explanation. If you are excused, it does not
mean that you are not qualified to serve. It frequently
happens that a juror excused on one case is accepted
n others. The number of “peremptory challenges is set
ay the Legislature.
The process of questioning and excusing jurors continues
until twelve jurors are accepted. Alternates will then bę
selected. Alternates are jurors who are treated the same
as the other jurors at all times, and must assume the same
responsibilities. If one of the twelve jurors cannot continue
for any reason, an alternate will be substituted for that
juror. Acceptance of the jury means that all sides are
confident that the selected jurors and attorneys can
decide the case fairly, impartially, and within the law.
Once the selection is completed, the jurors will be asked
to take an oath to render a judgment fairly and impartially,
and based only on the evidence presented in the trial. This
oath means that you have given your word that you will
make a decision in the case based only on the evidence
and the law. No other factors can be considered. As a
juror, your role is vital in making sure that justice is done.
WHAT DO I DO DURING THE TRIAL?
Once selected, the judge will tell you that you may not
speak with anyone, even other jurors, family or friends,
about the case or permit anyone to talk to you about it,
until the trial is over. This means that until you start
deliberations, you must not discuss the case even with
fellow jurors, and that you must be careful not to reach any
conclusions or decisions about the case. Once you start
deliberating, you are required to talk to the other jurors but
only when all jurors are present. You should then discuss
the evidence and the law in order to try to reach a verdict.
The reasons for this rule are simple. All cases must be
decided on the evidence that has been presented to you
in court. If you were to discuss the trial with family,
friends or coworkers, you will hear their opinions and
perhaps be influenced by their reactions, even though
they have not actually seen the evidence or received
the court’s instructions. Even an innocent violation of
this rule would be a violation of your oath and could
cause trial to have to be started again.
This rule also means that you cannot have conversations
with the attorneys or anyone else related to the trial. If you
have any questions, please talk to the bailiff or court
attendant. If anyone approaches you or tries to talk to
you about the case, let them know you cannot talk to
them. Be sure you wear your badge so that people will
know you are a juror. If you are approached by anyone
who tries to talk to you about the case, please let the
court attendant or bailiff know immediately.
As judges, you are limited to considering only the evidence
that the attorneys present to you. You are never an
investigator or an advocate for anyone. This means yo
cannot visit the scene of the case or look up informat
on the internet or consult any other source of inform
PLEASE WRITE A 3-4 PARAGRAPH
REPORT ABOUT WHAT YOU YOUND
INTERESTING ABOUT SERVING AS
A JUROR OR WHAT YOU DID NOT
KNOW BEFORE READING THIS.
CON LOS ANGOR
SEE COURSE OUTLINE FOR DUE
WHAT IS A TRIAL LIKE?
The trial will start with the attorneys making opening
lents, telling you what they expect that the evidence
will show. These introductions are not evidence but will
muy prove that the allegation is more likely to be true
tha not true. In some types of civil cases, the standard
be proof by clear and convincing evidence. In each
the judge will let you know what degree of proof
lequired for you to make a decision.
Yoi will find that there are often differences of opinion and
give you a framework to understand the evidence that will
be coming. Be careful to keep this distinction in mind.
In a criminal case, the prosecutor will then start calling
witnesses. In a civil case the plaintiff is the first to call
witnesses. After these witnesses are finished, the defense
may call witnesses. In criminal cases, you are reminded
that the defendant never has to prove anything.
After both sides finish calling witnesses and presenting
their evidence, the judge may instruct you on the law that
applies to the case, or you will receive instructions after
closing arguments. Closing arguments are not evidence,
but are an effort by the attorneys to summarize what the
evidence has shown. After these arguments, and jury
instructions, you will start deliberations.
WHAT IS EVIDENCE?
Evidence is anything presented to you by the attorneys
that you can see, hear or touch. It may be testimony
from a witness, a photograph, a document, a piece of
clothing, a fingerprint or anything physical. Statements
by the attorneys are not evidence. While you can use
y common sense in evaluating evidence, you must
leculate about things that have not been presented
or use any unique expertise you may have.
WHAT ARE DELIBERATIONS ABOUT?
Once in the jury room, your first job will be to choose a
foreperson or presiding juror. That person will make sure
that discussions are free and orderly, and that everyone
has an opportunity to participate. The foreperson will
also make sure that voting is done properly and that all
jurors are treated with respect. The foreperson will be
the one who communicates with the Court if there are
any questions or problems. If the required number of
jurors agree on the issues they are deciding, the
foreperson will sign and date the verdict forms, and will
let the court know that the jury has a verdict. All jurors
must vote on each decision that must be made.
diferences in perceptions among jurors. Each juror is
enouraged to explain his or her opinion and the reasons
forthat opinion. Jurors should not hesitate to change their
mind if there is good reason to, but should not change
merely to agree with the others or for some other improper
purpose. It would also be wrong to refuse to listen to
· another juror’s opinion or to deny a juror the right to explain
his or her position. Remember that each side has a right
to the decision of twelve independent impartial judges.
WHEN DO WE HAVE A VERDICT?
The judge will tell you how many jurors have to agree
in order to reach a verdict. In a civil, case, nine out of
twelve jurors must agree. In a criminal case, it must be
unanimous; unless every juror agrees to the decision,
there can be no verdict. For either civil or criminal cases,
if after spending a reasonable amount of time discussing
the case, the jury cannot reach an agreement and feels
that there is no possibility that a verdict can be reached,
the foreperson should let the judge know. If you feel
that you would like more information on an issue or can
think of something that may help the jury reach a verdict,
please let the court know this.
In talking with each other and trying to reach a verdict,
remember again that jurors can only consider the evidence
presented during the trial as well as the law given to
you by the judge. Remember at all times that you are
not advocates but are impartial judges.
DO I HAVE TO SERVE?
Yes. Every person has a responsibility and civic obligation
to serve on jury duty. This applies to doctors, lawyers,
public officials, homemakers, students, teachers,
executives, legislators and judges. There is only one
category of exemption: Peace Officers, as defined by
Penal Codes 830.1, 830.2(a) and 830.33(a).
THIS WILL NOT BE EASY. WHAT JE I AM NOT
SMART ENOUGH OR DO NOT KNOW THE LAW?
of the testimony read back, the foreperson will send the
If the jurors have a question, or would like to hear some
question or request out to the court on a form which will
Civil and criminal cases have different standards that
must be met. In each case, the judge will define these
pave every allegation beyond a reasonable doubt in
standards. In a criminal case, the prosecution must
for there to be a conviction. In a civil case, the
plaintiff, or person making the allegation in question,
The job of the jury is to find out the truth. Jurors have to
decide what evidence they believe and what is true or
not true. Persons who are better educated are not
necessarily in a better position to decide what the truth
is. No decisions are reached without talking the case
over with all of the other jurors and hearing each of their
opinions. You may forget something other jurors may
remember or remember a point they overlook.
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