US District Court • Southern District of New York

Handbook for Trial Jurors

Serving the United States District Court

Purpose of This Handbook

Importance of Jury Service

The Courts

The Criminal Case

The Civil Case

The Voir Dire Examination

The Jurors' Solemn Oath

The Eight Stages of Trial

The Arguments of Counsel

The Charge to the Jury

The Jury’s Verdict

Courtroom Etiquette

Conduct of the Jury during the Trial

In the Jury Room

After the Trial

Conclusion

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Purpose of This Handbook

The purpose of this handbook is to acquaint trial jurors with the general nature and importance of their role as jurors. It explains some of the language and procedures used in court, and it offers some suggestions helpful to jurors in performing this important public service.

Nothing in this handbook is to be regarded by jurors as instructions of law to be applied by them in any case in which they serve. The judge will instruct the jury in each separate case as to the law of that case. For example, in each criminal case, the judge will tell the jury, among other things, that a defendant charged with a crime is presumed to be innocent and the burden of proving his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt is upon the Government. Jurors must follow only the instructions of law given to them by the trial judge in each particular case.