What are the order of events of a trial?
  1. Opening Statements: The parties explain the case, the evidence they will present, and the issues for you to decide.
  2. Presentation Of Evidence: The evidence consists of the testimony of witnesses and the exhibits allowed by the Judge. Exhibits admitted into evidence will be available to the jury for examination during deliberations. You have a right to ask for them. You will be asked to make decisions regarding disputed facts; therefore, your attention at all times is critically important. Juror note taking or the use of any notes will be determined by the Judge.
  3. Rulings By The Judge: The Judge may be asked to decide questions of law during the trial. Occasionally, the Judge may ask jurors to leave the courtroom while the parties make their legal arguments. The jurors should understand that such interruptions are needed to make sure that their verdict is based upon proper evidence, as determined by the Judge under the Rules of Evidence. You may give the evidence whatever weight you consider appropriate.
  4. Instructions To The Jury: At the close of all the evidence, the Judge may submit to the jury the Charge of the Court. This will include legal instructions on this particular case and the questions that the jury is to answer from the evidence admitted.
  5. Closing Arguments: After the Charge of the Court, the parties have the opportunity to summarize the evidence in their closing arguments and to try to persuade the jury to accept their view of the case.
  6. Deliberations and Verdict of the Jury: Following closing arguments, the jury is sent to deliberate. When the jury has answered the questions asked of them they shall return their verdict. The verdict must be based solely on the evidence presented by the parties, the Charge of the Court, and the rules of law provided by the Judge.

When In Doubt, Ask the Judge

You have the right to communicate with the Judge regarding any matters affecting your deliberations, including but not limited to:

  • Any questions regarding evidence
  • The Charge of the Court
  • Physical comfort
  • Special needs

During deliberation, if it becomes necessary to communicate with the Judge, the bailiff or the officer of the court will deliver jurors' notes to the Judge. The information in this handbook is not intended to take the place of the instructions given by the Judge in any case. In the event of a conflict, the Judge's instructions will prevail.

Show All Answers

1. Why is jury service important?
2. What is my duty as a juror?
3. How was I selected?
4. Am I eligible?
5. Who can be excused from jury service?
6. What kind of case will I hear?
7. Must my employer pay me while I am on jury duty?
8. Who can have a jury trial?
9. Are there rules about jury conduct?
10. How is a juror selected for a particular case?
11. What is voir dire or questioning of the jury panel?
12. What if I have a special need or emergency?
13. What are the order of events of a trial?