Mock Trials



Jury Trials


Website: Jury Selection Process

Jury Duty-
Once impaneled, the jurors’ role is to listen to the evidence conscientiously and not draw premature conclusions. They are instructed by the judge not to discuss the case with outsiders or each other (until deliberations). They generally do not have the right to ask questions of witnesses, but some judges permit jurors to submit written questions for the judge and lawyers to consider. (The lawyers have a right to object to these questions, just as they do to questions posed by lawyers during the trial.) If appropriate, the questions may be asked.

Jury Selection Process-
Potential jurors must be residents of the county that the case is being tried. Citizens are randomly selected from Drivers License database and must report to the courthouse jury pool room on selected date/time. If you do not appear for jury duty, the judge will submit a warrant to the county sheriff for your arrest to be brought to the court for evading jury duty. Juries of six to twelve persons are selected from the jury pool room. The size of jury varies from state to state and depends to some extent on the type of case at trial.

  • In civil cases, especially in courts of limited jurisdiction, the standard size in many jurisdictions is becoming six, which can be increased by stipulation of both parties.
  • In misdemeanor cases there are sometimes fewer than twelve jurors, though in serious criminal cases twelve jurors are generally required.
  • The old requirement that juries be unanimous is also changing. In misdemeanor and civil cases particularly, states often provide for verdicts based on the agreement of three-fourths or five-sixths of the jurors.

Alternate jurors are selected in some cases to take the place of jurors who may become ill during the trial. Alternate jurors hear the evidence just as the other jurors do, but they don’t participate in the deliberations unless they replace an original juror.

In many jurisdictions, jury selection begins with the court clerk's calling twelve people on the jury list and asking them to take a place in the jury box. The judge usually makes a brief statement explaining what kind of case is to be tried and inquiring whether there is any reason the potential jurors cannot serve. The judge or the lawyers then ask them questions as to whether they have any knowledge of the case or have had specific experiences that might cause them to be biased or unfair. This questioning of the potential jurors is known as voir dire (to speak the truth).

If either lawyer believes there is information that suggests a juror is prejudiced about the case, he or she can ask the judge to dismiss that juror for cause. For example, a juror can be dismissed for cause if he or she is a close relative of one of the parties or one of the lawyers, or if he or she works for a company that is part of the lawsuit. Each lawyer may request the dismissal of an unlimited number of jurors for cause. Each request will be considered by the judge and may or may not be allowed.

In addition to challenges for cause, each lawyer has a specific number of peremptory challenges. These challenges permit a lawyer to excuse a potential juror without stating a cause. In effect, they allow a lawyer to dismiss a juror because of a belief that the juror will not serve the best interests of the client. Peremptory challenges are limited to a certain number determined by the kind of lawsuit being tried. They can’t be used to discriminate on the basis of race or sex.

When both parties (prosecution and defense) have agreed upon a jury, the jurors are sworn in to try the case by the court clerk. Those not selected are excused and may leave.

What happened? (the circumstances)-
Opening statements from Prosecution lawyers and Defense lawyers

The Law-
The judge instructs the jury if this is a civil or criminal case and about the relevant laws that should guide its deliberations.
The judge will point out that his or her instructions contain the interpretation of the relevant laws that govern the case, and that jurors are required to adhere to these laws in making their decision, regardless of what the jurors believe the law is or ought to be. In short, the jurors determine the facts and reach a verdict, within the guidelines of the law as determined by the judge.

Verdict-
After reaching a decision, the jury notifies the bailiff, who notifies the judge. All of the participants reconvene in the courtroom and the decision is announced. The announcement may be made by either the jury foreperson or the court clerk.

Sentencing-
The judge will announce the sentencing of the convicted based on the range of punishments and on state and federal guidelines for particular crimes. If convicted, the sheriffs will escort the person of of the court room and into the county jail. If innocent, the person may leave the courtroom immediately.

*All information from American Bar Association - www.americanbar.org


Mock Trials Exercises


Website:
https://njsbf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Law-Adventure-MT-Exercises-2014.pdf

Read your assigned case and answer the following questions:

Title of Case:

Brief Case Synopsis (what happened?):

ISSUES: Who is suing who? Why? What law was broken?

Answer the Sub-Issue Questions: (write questions and answers)

What is your VERDICT? [include the reason(s) for your guilty/not guilty decision]:

Sentencing: (What damages/money must be paid or restitution to be performed?)