Proper Conduct for a Juror

Conduct During Trial

During the trial and the breaks or recesses, including overnight recesses, jurors must not talk about the case among themselves or with others, and must not allow others to talk about the case in their presence. A juror should not participate in any activity which might tend to incline him or her toward one party or the other. Jurors should not mingle with the parties, lawyers or, witnesses, and should not accept any favors of any nature, no matter how small, from any of the witnesses, parties, or lawyers. If a juror is approached in any way by someone interested in the outcome of the case, the juror should immediately report this communication privately to the court through the jury’s bailiff.

Conduct In the Jury Room

The jurors are provided with a private room to which they retire as a body during court recesses. After the evidence has been concluded and the judge’s charge has been delivered, the jury retires to the jury room to consider its verdict. The first task is the selection of a foreperson, a juror who will represent the group and act as its chairperson. It is the foreperson’s duty to see that the discussion among the jurors is carried out in a sensible and orderly fashion, that the issues are fully understood and fairly discussed, and that each juror has the chance to state his or her views on every question. The foreperson supervises the taking of ballots. The foreperson also signs any written verdict which may be required and any written request from the jury to the judge, such as a request for a further charge on some point of law.

After the Trial

Once the jury’s verdict has been announced and the trial is over, jurors are free to discuss the case with the parties, witnesses, and lawyers, as well as with the media and any others. However, there is no obligation for a juror to discuss the case with anyone if he or she does not wish to do so.