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Juror Attire and Conduct

Proper Attire

Appropriate business attire is required. Please note: casual attire, including T-shirts, shorts, jeans or flip flops are not allowed. Our courtrooms are generally very cool and you may wish to bring a sweater or light jacket. Since you will be passing through a metal detector, please leave excess metal and jewelry at home to speed up your entry into the building.

In addition, please note that jurors may not bring weapons of any kind or electronic devices of any kind into the courthouse, including but not limited to: cell phones, radios, PDA's, tape recorders, computers, cameras and portable music players.

Conduct of the Jury

During the Trial

Jurors should give close attention to the testimony. They are sworn to disregard their prejudices and follow the court's instructions. They must render a verdict according to their best judgment.

Each juror should keep an open mind. Human experience shows that, once persons come to a preliminary conclusion as to a set of facts, they hesitate to change their views. Therefore, it is wise for jurors not to even attempt to make up their mind on the facts of a case until all the evidence has been presented to them, and they have been instructed on the law applicable to the case. Similarly, jurors must not discuss the case even among themselves until it is finally concluded.

Jurors are expected to use all the experience, common sense and common knowledge they possess. But they are not to rely on any private source of information. Thus they should be careful, during the trial, not to discuss the case at home or elsewhere. Information that a juror gets from a private source may be only half true, or biased or inaccurate. It may be irrelevant to the case at hand. At any rate, it is only fair that the parties have a chance to know and comment upon all the facts that matter in the case.

If it develops during the trial that a juror learns elsewhere of some fact about the case, he or she should inform the court. The juror should not mention any such matter in the jury room.

Individual jurors should never inspect the scene of an accident or of any event in the case. If an inspection is necessary, the judge will have the jurors go as a group to the scene.

Jurors must not talk about the case with others not on the jury, even their spouses or families, and must not read about the case in the newspapers. They should avoid radio and television broadcasts that might mention the case. The jury's verdict must be based on nothing else but the evidence and law presented to them in court.

Jurors should not loiter in the corridors or vestibules of the courthouse. Embarrassing contacts may occur there with persons interested in the case. Juror identification badges will be provided, and they should be worn in the courthouse at all times.

If any outsider attempts to talk with a juror about a case in which he or she is sitting, the juror should do the following:

  1. Tell the person it is improper for a juror to discuss the case or receive any information except in the courtroom.
  2. Refuse to listen if the outsider persists.
  3. Report the incident at once to the judge.

Jurors have the duty to report to the judge any improper behavior by any juror. They also have the duty to inform the judge of any outside communication or improper conduct directed at the jury by any person.

Jurors on a case should refrain from talking on any subject--even if it is not related to the matter being tried - with any lawyer, witness, or party in the case. Such contact may make a new trial necessary.

In the Jury Room

In this district, jurors elect a foreperson. The foreperson presides over the jury's deliberations and must give every juror a fair opportunity to express his or her views.

Jurors must enter deliberation with open minds. They should freely exchange views. They should not hesitate to change their opinions if the deliberations have convinced them they were wrong initially. However, a juror should never change his or her mind merely because others disagree or just to finish the trial.

In a criminal case all jurors must agree on the verdict. This is also required in a civil case, unless the jury is otherwise instructed by the court.

The jurors have a duty to give full consideration to the opinion of their fellow jurors. They have an obligation to reach a verdict whenever possible. However, no juror is required to give up any opinion which he or she is convinced is correct.

The members of the jury are sworn to pass judgment on the facts in a particular case. They have no concern beyond that case. They violate their oath if they render their decision on the basis of the effect their verdict may have on other situations.

After the Trial

After the jurors return their verdict and are dismissed by the judge, they are free to go about their normal affairs. Jurors are under no obligation to speak to any person about the case and may refuse all requests for interviews or comments. Payment to jurors for their service will be sent to them by mail within two weeks of their service.