Approximately 20% of those summoned to jury duty are ever chosen to serve on a jury. So, there is a good chance that you will be released from your jury service after the first day. If you are selected to serve, this will be an opportunity to see our justice system in action first hand.
A Day in the Life of a Juror
Each trial is as unique as the people involved, and there is no way to predict how long each trial will last. A trial can last a day or take two or three days; they are seldom much longer.
During the trial, the judge will tell you what time you need to be in court each day and what time to expect each day to end. You will also be given a break for lunch, which you may choose to take at one of the many restaurants around the courthouse. Restaurant maps are provided in the jury room. Trials follow a set procedure that you may find familiar.
Attorneys for each side may explain the case, outline any evidence they will present, and discuss the issues you will decide. This is usually a broad statement that sets the stage for witnesses and the details to follow.
Presentation of Evidence
Testimony of witnesses and exhibits are all evidence. Any exhibits will be available to the jury during their deliberations. Because you will be deciding the case based on the facts presented, it is very important to pay close attention to all evidence.
Rulings by the Judge
The judge may be asked to decide questions of law during the trial. He may ask jurors to leave the courtroom while lawyers make legal arguments. If this happens, understand that these issues must be decided so that proper evidence can be considered by the jury.
Instruction to the Jury
After all evidence has been presented, the judge may give the jury the Charge of the Court. This includes legal instructions about the case and the question the jury must answer.
This gives the lawyers an opportunity to summarize the evidence and to try to persuade the jury to accept their client’s view of the case.
Jury Deliberations & Decision
After hearing the closing arguments, the jury is sent to deliberate. During deliberations, members of the jury will decide how they will answer the questions presented in the Charge of the Court and then return a final verdict.