Welcome to jury service.
We appreciate your willingness to serve! Your job as a juror is to listen to all the evidence presented at trial, then decide the facts. The judge’s job is to decide the law or make decisions on legal issues that come up during the trial. Everyone has to do their job well if our system is to work.
You don’t need special knowledge or the ability to do your job – and there is no homework. It is enough that you keep an open mind, use common sense, concentrate on the evidence presented, and be fair and honest in your deliberations.
You must base your decision solely on the evidence and not on sympathy or prejudice. It is critical that you begin your service unbiased toward any party, lawyer, or witness and that you keep an open mind until you have heard all the evidence and begin jury deliberations.
THE DANGERS OF OUTSIDE INFORMATION
A trial can only be fair if your decisions are based entirely on the information you receive in the courtroom, not on outside information. We, therefore, ask that you take the following rules seriously.
- Do Not Talk To Anyone Or Let Anyone Talk To You About The Case
Do not discuss any aspect of the case with anyone until the trial is concluded. This includes your family and friends. Also, do not discuss the case with the other jurors until your deliberations begin. This helps you to keep an open mind until the end of the case.
- Do Not Receive Or Send Electronic Communications About The Case
This includes texting, emailing, blogging, tweeting, posting information on social network websites, or using any other electronic communications to discuss, or even mention, this case.
- Do Not Conduct Internet Research
Do not use the internet to seek information about any aspect of the case.
- Avoid News Reports About The Case
If you are accidentally exposed to information about the case or its subject matter, please report it to court staff without sharing the information with your fellow jurors.
- Do Not Try To Uncover Evidence On
Your Own Never, for example, go to locations that were part of the case you are hearing. Do not do research about any issue related to the case. For example, even checking a dictionary for the meaning of a word, using the internet to look at a map location, or reading an online encyclopedia for background information is not allowed.
Violation Of These Rules Is Serious!
It could result in a mistrial (starting the trial all over again) and you being found in contempt of court.
SOME OTHER DO’S AND DON’TS
- Do arrive on time and do return promptly after breaks and lunch. The trial cannot proceed until all jurors are present.
- Do pay close attention. If you cannot hear what is being said, raise your hand and let the judge know.
- Do keep an open mind all through the trial.
- Do listen carefully to the instructions read by the judge. Remember, it is your duty to accept what the judge says about the law to be applied to the case.
- Don’t try to guess what the judge thinks about the case. Remember that rulings from the bench do not reflect the judge’s personal views.
- Don’t talk to the lawyers, parties, or witnesses about anything. This will avoid the impression that something unfair is going on.
- Do work out differences between yourself and other jurors through complete and fair discussions of the evidence and the judge’s instructions.
- Don’t lose your temper, try to bully, or refuse to listen to the opinions of the other jurors.
- Don’t mark or write on exhibits or otherwise change them.
- Don’t draw straws, flip coins, or otherwise arrive at your verdict by chance, or the decision will be illegal.
- Don’t talk to anyone about the case until you are discharged. After discharge, you may discuss the verdict, but don’t feel obligated to do so.
- Don’t use electronic devices during deliberations.