Courtroom Conduct & Guidelines

Duties & Responsibilities of Jurors

This a description of the responsibilities and duties of jurors in Lake County, Illinois. These are rules for jurors. If jurors continue to obey them, then we can operate the Courts as efficiently as possible and meet all the requirements for impartial juries. Also, we can maintain the security of those citizens serving as jurors.

Do Not Make an Independent Investigation

Jurors are expected to use the experience and common sense they possess, but are not to rely upon private sources of information. Therefore, jurors should never inspect the scene of any occurrence involved in a case except under supervision of the Court. The jury's verdict can only be based upon the testimony heard and evidence viewed in the courtroom during the trial.

Do Not Talk to Participants During the Trial

Do not talk to any of the attorneys, parties, reporters or witnesses about anything. It may be only a comment on the weather, but if seen by people who can not hear what is said it may be misunderstood. It is better to say nothing.

Do Not Discuss the Case During the Trial

Jurors are not to discuss the case among themselves until the testimony is complete and deliberations have begun. It would be unfair to the parties, the other jurors and the juror himself to reach conclusions or influence each other before all the evidence has been presented

During the trial the juror must not discuss the case with friends, family or others. The reason for this is that a juror must base his/her decision only upon the evidence. The opinions or comments offered by others are not proper evidence in the case. If a juror is asked to discuss the case by persons outside the courtroom, the juror should say that the law does not allow me to do so. If anyone persists in discussing the case or tries to influence a juror in any way, it is the juror's legal duty to report this to the judge right away. A juror should avoid newspapers, radio and television programs that may feature accounts of the trial or information concerning one of the people in it. These media reports may be biased or incomplete and are not evidence.

After a juror is released they may discuss their experiences with the attorneys, investigators, or other persons. Please be aware, that jurors are not required to do so, and the choice is up to the individuals themselves.

Conduct in the Jury Room

The first duty of the jury upon retiring at the close of the case is to select a foreperson. He or she acts as chairperson. It is his or her duty to see that the discussion is carried on in an orderly fashion and that every juror has a chance to say what he or she thinks. A good foreperson can keep the discussion in due bounds, can save much time and can secure efficient results.