What’s Going to Happen on Jury Duty?

Criminal Defense Attorney

Most people aren’t pleased when they receive a notice in the mail ordering them to show up for jury duty. In fact, lots of people would prefer to simply get out of serving on a jury. It takes time away from work and family, and it can be a real inconvenience. However, service as a juror is sometimes the most important way we serve as a citizen during our lifetimes, and it can be a very rewarding experience in the end, as a criminal lawyer Greenville, MI trusts knows well. If you’ve been called for jury duty, here’s what you might expect:

  1.     The judge is going to give you instructions about what to do.

If you’re worried about not knowing what to do or how you will go about deciding the case, don’t fret. The judge will give you verbal instructions all along the way. Sometimes, the judge will even give you those instructions to take back with you in writing. You’ll also be able to send out questions to the judge if you get stuck once you get back in the jury room.

  1.     The attorneys and judge will ask you questions to figure out whether you’re right for the case.

At the beginning of the trial, the attorneys and judge will ask you a series of questions that will help them determine whether or not you are right for this particular case. You should answer those questions honestly, and engage with the attorneys as much as possible. This is really the only time during the course of the trial that the attorneys get a chance to interact with you back and forth. It’s important that they understand your background and your views so that they can determine whether or not you should sit on this jury. Don’t feel bad if this case isn’t right for you. Some people would make great jurors on one case, but their life experience or views might make it difficult for them to fairly decide another type of case.

  1.     The attorneys will give you an outline about what to expect in the case in their opening statement.

You’ll learn what the case is about during opening statements. Opening statements are a summary of the evidence that the attorneys expect you will hear during the course of the trial. If you’re lucky, the attorneys will tell each side’s story in a compelling way, and keep your attention throughout.

  1.     You get to judge the credibility of the witnesses you hear from.

As you go through the case, you’ll likely hear from several witnesses. You get to decide which witnesses you believe, or even which parts of the witnesses’ testimony that you believe. You are the ultimate arbiter of the truth in this case.

  1.     The case will end with closing arguments.

At the end of the case, the attorneys will talk about the evidence that you heard, and make arguments about the way that they believe you should decide the case. You get to take or leave what they say, and can decide the case based on your own judgment.

  1.     There will be some down time.

During the course of the trial, there will be some down time. The judge and attorneys sometimes need to take breaks to deal with legal issues or scheduling concerns. You’ll probably spend some time during the trial wondering what they are talking about outside of your presence, but you should try hard not to guess and to focus only on the information you get inside the courtroom.

  1.     You can’t make an incorrect decision.

The good news is that you can’t make an incorrect decision. This is an incredibly important decision, but it’s one that has been left to you. You should take it seriously, but know that no one can later tell you that you were wrong. The judge can’t reverse your decision. The attorneys must accept the way that you decide the case. Your decision is final, and once you get back into the jury room, no one can tell you how to decide the case.



Thanks to our friends and contributors from Blanchard Law for more insight into jury duty and criminal defense.