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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Courtroom Etiquette

A court session begins when the court official raps for order. Everyone in the court rises. The judge takes his or her place on the bench, and the court official announces the opening of court. A similar procedure is used when court adjourns.

Common courtesy and politeness are safe guides as to the way jurors should act. Of course, no juror will be permitted to read a newspaper or magazine in the courtroom. Nor should a juror carry on a conversation with another juror in the courtroom during the trial.

Jurors will be treated with consideration. Their comfort and convenience will be served whenever possible. They should bring to the attention of the judge any matter affecting their service and should notify the court of any emergencies. In the event of a personal emergency a juror may send word to the judge through any court personnel, or may ask to see the judge privately.