SOLUTION: CSULA Business Law Project Worksheet

This writing assignment is worth 50 points.
For this assignment, read the Trial Juror’s Handbook and:
1) Write about FOUR (4) THINGS you found of interest (in the Trial Juror’s
1. Explain WHY you chose those four items. Discuss each item in detail,
MENTION why it is important and interesting to you.
Important! When finished, SAVE AS A WORD DOC OR .pdf (NOT .pgs)
Prepared for the use of trial jurors
serving in the United States district courts
under the supervision of the Judicial
Conference of the United States. Published
by the Administrative Office of the
United States Courts, Washington, D.C.
THE COURTS ……………………………………. 2
THE CRIMINAL CASE…………………………. 3
THE CIVIL CASE ……………………………….. 4
THE JURY’S VERDICT ………………………… 9
TRIAL ……………………………………………..10
IN THE JURY ROOM ………………………… 13
AFTER THE TRIAL …………………………… 14
CONCLUSION …………………………………. 14
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.
Jurors perform a vital role in the American
system of justice. The protection of our rights
and liberties is largely achieved through the
teamwork of judge and jury who, working
together in a common effort, put into practice
the principles of our great heritage of freedom.
The judge determines the law to be applied in
the case while the jury decides the facts. Thus,
in a very important way, jurors become a part
of the court itself.
Jurors must be men and women of sound
judgment, absolute honesty, and a complete
sense of fairness. Jury service is a high duty
of citizenship. Jurors aid in the maintenance
of law and order and uphold justice among
their fellow citizens. Their greatest reward is
the knowledge that they have discharged this
duty faithfully, honorably, and well. In addition
to determining and adjusting property rights,
jurors may also be asked to decide questions
involving a crime for which a person may
be fined, placed on probation, or confined
in prison. In a very real sense, therefore, the
people must rely on jurors for the protection
of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
In this country, there are two systems of
courts. They are the courts of the individual
50 states and the District of Columbia and the
courts of the Federal Government. This book is
written for jurors selected to serve in the trial
court of the Federal Government, the United
States District Court. The types of cases that
can be brought in this court have been fixed
by the United States Congress according to our
Federal Constitution.
Cases in the United States District Courts
are divided into two general classes. These are
called criminal cases and civil cases.
Criminal cases are those in which
individuals or organizations are charged with
breaking the criminal laws. Typical criminal
charges in a federal court are those involving
violation of the federal income tax and
narcotics laws, mail theft, and counterfeiting.
Civil cases are suits in which persons who
disagree over their rights and duties come into
court to settle the matter. A typical example of
a civil case is one involving a broken contract.
One party may claim that it should be paid
under the terms of the contract, while the
other side may assert a defense to the claim,
such as the lack of a binding contract. The
court is asked to decide who is right. This
depends on the law as laid down by the judge
and the facts as decided by the jury.
The person charged with a violation of the
law is the defendant. The charge against the
defendant may be brought in two ways. One
way is by means of an indictment; the other is
by an information.
An indictment is a written accusation by
a grand jury that charges the defendant with
committing an offense against the law. Each
offense charged will usually be set forth in a
separate count of the indictment.
An information is the name given to a
written charge against the defendant filed
by the United States Attorney and not by
the grand jury. But even in cases where the
defendant has the right to have a grand jury
consider the charges presented, the defendant
may agree to give up this right and consent to
the filing of an information.
After the indictment or information is
filed, the defendant appears in open court
where the court advises the defendant of the
charge and asks whether the defendant pleads
“guilty” or “not guilty.” This procedure is
called the arraignment.
No trial is needed if the defendant pleads
guilty and admits to committing the crime. But
if the defendant pleads not guilty, he or she
will then be placed on trial.
The judge in a criminal case tells the jury
what the law is. The jury must determine what
the true facts are. On that basis, the jury has
only to determine whether the defendant is
guilty or not guilty of each offense charged.
The subsequent sentencing is the sole
responsibility of the judge. In other words, in
arriving at an impartial verdict as to guilt or
innocence of a jury defendant, the jury is not
to consider a sentence.
The jury must consider separately each of
the charges against the defendant, after which
it may find the person: not guilty of any of the
charges, guilty of all the charges, or guilty of
some of the charges and not guilty of others.
The following is an example of the kind
of civil case jurors in a United States District
Court will help decide.
Let us call the case John Smith v. XY
Company. This means that John Smith has
filed a case against the XY Company.
John Smith is called the plaintiff, the
person who begins the case. The XY Company
is the defendant. The plaintiff and the
defendant are the parties.
The plaintiff, John Smith, states his
claim in a paper called the complaint. The
defendant, XY Company, replies to the
complaint in a paper called the answer. The
complaint and the answer are the main
pleadings in the case. The points in the
pleadings about which the parties disagree
make up the issues of fact and law. Sometimes
these issues are set forth in a pretrial order.
This is an order drawn up by the judge after
consulting with the attorneys for the parties.
To begin a jury trial, a panel of
prospective jurors is called into the courtroom.
This panel will include a number of persons
from whom a jury will be selected to try the
case. In criminal trials, alternate jurors may be
chosen to take the place of jurors who become
ill during the trial.
The panel members are sworn to
answer questions about their qualifications
to sit as jurors in the case. This questioning
process is called the voir dire. This is an
examination conducted by the judge and
sometimes includes participation by counsel.
A deliberately untruthful answer to any fair
question could result in serious punishment to
the person making it.
The voir dire examination opens with a
short statement about the case. The purpose is
to inform the jurors what the case is about and
to identify the parties and their lawyers.
Questions are then asked to find out
whether any individuals on the panel have
any personal interest in the case or know
of any reason why they cannot render an
impartial verdict. The court also wants to
know whether any member of the panel is
related to or personally acquainted with the
parties, their lawyers, or the witnesses who
will appear during trial. Other questions will
determine whether any panel members have
a prejudice or a feeling that might influence
them in rendering a verdict. Any juror having
knowledge of the case should explain this to
the judge.
Parties on either side may ask that a
member of the panel be excused or exempted
from service on a particular jury. These
requests, or demands, are called challenges.
A person may be challenged for cause
if the examination shows he or she might be
prejudiced. The judge will excuse an individual
from the panel if the cause raised in the
challenge is sufficient. There is no limit to the
number of challenges for cause, which either
party may make.
The parties also have a right to a
certain number of challenges for which
no cause is necessary. These are called
peremptory challenges. Each side usually
has a predetermined number of peremptory
challenges. The peremptory challenge is a
legal right long recognized by law as a means
of giving both sides some choice in the makeup of a jury. Jurors should clearly understand
that being eliminated from the jury panel by
a peremptory challenge is no reflection upon
their ability or integrity.
In some courts, the peremptory
challenges are made openly in the hearing
of the jury. In others, they are made from the
jury list out of the jury’s sight.
After the voir dire is completed, the jurors
selected to try the case will be sworn in. The
judge or the clerk will state to the jury:
“Members of the Jury, you will rise, hold up
your right hands, and be sworn to try this
The jurors then rise and hold up their
right hands. The jurors face the judge or
the clerk who is to administer the oath.
That official slowly, solemnly, and clearly
repeats the oath. The jurors indicate by their
responses and upraised hands that they take
this solemn oath.
Jurors not wishing to take an oath may
request to affirm instead of swear. In some
districts the jury is sworn upon the Bible and
not by uplifted hand.
The trial proceeds when the jury has been
sworn. There are usually eight stages of trial in
civil cases. They are:
The lawyers present opening
statements. Sometimes the opening
statements on behalf of one or more
parties are omitted.
The plaintiff calls witnesses and
produces evidence to prove its case.
The defendant may call witnesses
and produce evidence to disprove
the plaintiffs’ case and to prove the
defendant’s claims.
The plaintiff may call rebuttal
witnesses to disprove what was said
by the defendant’s witnesses.
Closing arguments are made by the
lawyer on each side.
The judge instructs or charges the
jury as to the law.
The jury retires to deliberate.
The jury reaches its verdict.
During the trial, witnesses called by either
side may be cross-examined by the lawyers on
the other side.
Throughout the trial, the judge may be
asked in the presence of the jury to decide
questions of law. Usually these questions
concern objections to testimony that either
side wants to present. Occasionally, the
judge may ask jurors to leave the courtroom
briefly while the lawyers present their legal
arguments for and against such objections.
The law requires that the judge decide such
A ruling by the judge does not indicate
that the judge is taking sides. He or she is
merely saying, in effect, that the law does,
or else does not, permit that question to be
It is possible that the judge may decide
every objection favorably to the plaintiff
or the defendant. That does not mean the
case should be decided by the jury for the
plaintiff or the defendant. Even where the
judge decides every objection favorably to
the plaintiff or the defendant, the jury should
maintain its objectivity and base its verdict
strictly upon the testimony and exhibits
received in evidence at trial.
The juror takes an oath to decide the case
“upon the law and the evidence.” The law is
what the presiding judge declares the law to
be; not what a juror believes it to be or what a
juror may have heard it to be from any source
other than the presiding judge. The evidence
that jurors consider consists of the testimony
of witnesses and the exhibits admitted in
evidence. What evidence is proper for the jury
to consider is based upon the law of evidence.
After presentation of the evidence is
completed, the lawyers have the opportunity
to discuss the evidence in their closing
arguments. This helps the jurors recall
testimony that might have slipped their
The chief purpose of the argument
is to present the evidence in logical and
comprehensible order. The lawyers fit the
different parts of the testimony together and
connect up the facts.
Each attorney presents the view of the
case that is most favorable to his or her own
client. Each lawyer’s side appears to be right
to that lawyer. Each lawyer’s statement may
be balanced by the statement of the lawyers
on the other side.
The charge of a judge to a jury in a
United States District Court frequently is much
more than a statement of the rules of law.
Sometimes it may contain a summary of the
facts or some of the facts.
It is the jury’s duty to reach its own
conclusion based on the evidence. The verdict
is reached without regard to what may be the
opinion of the judge as to the facts, though as
to the law the judge’s charge controls.
The judge may point out and may also
explain basic facts in dispute, and facts that do
not actually matter in the case. In other words,
the judge may try to direct the jury’s attention
to the real merits of the case and impartially
summarize the evidence bearing on the
questions of fact. The judge will state the law
related to the facts presented to the jury.
In both civil and criminal cases, it is the
jury’s duty to decide the facts in accordance
with the principles of law laid down in the
judge’s charge to the jury. The decision is
made on the evidence introduced, and the
jury’s decision on the facts is usually final.
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
for their comfort and convenience. 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
Jurors should give close attention to the
testimony. They are sworn to disregard their
prejudices and follow the court’s instructions.
They must render a verdict according to their
best judgment.
Each juror should keep an open mind.
Human experience shows that once persons
come to a preliminary conclusion as to a
set of facts, they hesitate to change their
views. Therefore, it is wise for jurors not
to even attempt to make up their mind on
the facts of a case until all the evidence has
been presented to them, and they have been
instructed on the law applicable to the case.
Similarly, jurors should not discuss the case
even among themselves until it is concluded.
During the trial, the jury may hear
references to the rules of evidence. Some of
these rules may appear strange to a person
who is not a lawyer. However, each rule
has a purpose. The rules have evolved from
hundreds of years of experience in the trial of
The mere fact that a lawsuit was begun
is not evidence in a case. The opening and
closing statements of the lawyers are not
evidence. A juror should disregard any
statements made by a lawyer in argument
that have not been proved by the evidence. A
juror should also disregard any statement by
a lawyer as to the law of the case if it is not in
accord with the judge’s instructions.
Jurors are expected to use all the
experience, common sense, and common
knowledge they possess. But they are not to
rely on any private source of information.
Thus, they should be careful during the trial
not to discuss the case at home or elsewhere.
Information that a juror gets from a private
source may be only half true, or biased or
inaccurate. It may be irrelevant to the case at
hand. At any rate, it is only fair that the parties
have a chance to know and comment on all
the facts that matter in the case.
If during the trial a juror learns elsewhere
of some fact about the case, he or she should
inform the court. The juror should not
mention any such matter in the jury room.
Individual jurors should never inspect
(either in person or via Internet websites) the
scene of an accident or of any event in the
case. If an inspection is necessary, the judge
will have the jurors go as a group to the scene.
Jurors must not talk about the case
with others not on the jury, even their
spouses or families, including via electronic
communications and social networking on
computers, netbooks, tablets, and smart
phones. Jurors must not read about the
case in the newspapers or on the Internet.
They should avoid radio, television, and
Internet broadcasts that might mention the
case. Jurors should not conduct any outside
research, including but not limited to,
consulting dictionaries or reference materials,
whether in paper form or on the Internet.
Jurors may not use any of the following to
obtain information about the case, about
case processes or legal terms, or to conduct
any research about the case: any electronic
device or media, such as a telephone, cell
phone, smart phone, or computer; the
Internet, any Internet service, or any text
or instant messaging service, RSS feed, or
other automatic alert that may transmit
information regarding the case to the juror;
or any Internet chat room, blog, or website,
to communicate to anyone information about
the case. The Sixth Amendment’s guarantee
of a trial by an impartial jury requires that a
jury’s verdict must be based on nothing else
but the evidence and law presented to them
in court. The words of Supreme Court Justice
Oliver Wendell Holmes from over a century
ago apply with equal force to jurors serving
in this advanced technological age: “The
theory of our system is that the conclusions to
be reached in a case will be induced only by
evidence and argument in open court, and not
by any outside influence, whether of private
talk or public print.”
Breaking these rules is likely to confuse a
juror. It may be hard to separate in one’s mind
the court testimony and reports coming from
other sources.
Jurors should not loiter in the corridors
or vestibules of the courthouse. Embarrassing
and/or improper contacts may occur there
with persons interested in the case. If juror
identification badges are provided, they should
be worn in the courthouse at all times.
If any outsider attempts to talk with a
juror about a case in which he or she is sitting,
the juror should do the following:
(1) Tell the person it is improper for a
juror to discuss the case or receive
any information except in the
(2) Refuse to listen if the outsider
(3) Report the incident at once to the
Jurors have the duty to report to the judge
any improper behavior by any juror. They
also have the duty to inform the judge of any
outside communication or improper conduct
directed at the jury by any person.
Jurors on a case should refrain from
talking on any subject—even if it is not related
to the matter being tried—with any lawyer,
witness, or party in the case. Such contact
may make a new trial necessary, at significant
additional expense to the parties, the court,
and ultimately, taxpayers.
Some cases may arouse much public
discussion. In that event, the jury may be
kept together until the verdict is reached. This
procedure is used to protect the jurors against
outside influences.
In some districts, the judge selects the
foreperson of the jury. In other districts, the
jurors elect their foreperson, and in still other
districts, the first juror to enter the jury box
becomes the foreperson automatically. The
judge will inform jurors which method is used
in the district.
The foreperson presides over the jury’s
deliberations and must give every juror a fair
opportunity to express his or her views.
Jurors must enter the discussion with
open minds. They should freely exchange
views. They should not hesitate to change their
opinions if the deliberations have convinced
them they were wrong initially.
In a criminal case, all jurors must agree
on the verdict. This is also required in a civil
case, unless the jury is otherwise instructed by
the court.
The jurors have a duty to give full
consideration to the opinion of their fellow
jurors. They have an obligation to reach a
verdict whenever possible. However, no juror
is required to give up any opinion which he or
she is convinced is correct.
It would be dishonest for a judge to
decide a case by tossing a coin. It would be
just as dishonest for a juror to do so.
The members of the jury are sworn to
pass judgment on the facts in a particular case.
They have no concern beyond that case. They
violate their oath if they render their decision
on the basis of the effect their verdict may
have on other situations.
After the jurors return their verdict and
are dismissed by the judge, they are free to go
about their normal affairs, although in some
districts jurors must check with jury office
personnel to see if their service is concluded.
They are under no obligation to speak to
any person about the case and may refuse
all requests for interviews or comments.
Nevertheless, the court may enter an order in
a specific case that during any such interview,
jurors may not give any information with
respect to the vote of any other juror.
To decide cases correctly, jurors must be
honest and intelligent. They must have both
integrity and good judgment. The continued
vitality of the jury system depends on these
To meet their responsibility, jurors must
decide the facts and apply the law impartially.
They must not favor the rich or the poor.
They must treat alike all men and women,
corporations and individuals. Justice should be
rendered to all persons without regard to race,
color, religion, or sex.
The performance of jury service is
the fulfillment of a high civic obligation.
Conscientious service brings its own reward
in the satisfaction of an important task well
done. There is no more valuable work that
the average citizen can perform in support
of our Government than the full and honest
discharge of jury duty.
The effectiveness of the democratic
system itself is largely measured by the
integrity, the intelligence, and the general
quality of citizenship of the jurors who serve in
our courts.
Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts
Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building
One Columbus Circle, N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20544
HB100 (Rev. 8/12)

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