Posted by: episystechpubs | September 11, 2014

Editor’s Corner: Trial by Jury

Today’s vocabulary and court terms are from days two through five of jury duty (at least in this case). I’ll have the final results for you tomorrow.

  • admonishment: An authoritative statement made to the jury by the judge regarding their conduct as jurors. [KC – In plain terms, the judge reminds you each time that there is a recess, that you are not allowed to talk, text, or in any way communicate with anyone anywhere about the trial.]
  • trial: The formal examination of a legal controversy in court so as to determine the issue. [KC – In this case, we were to hear evidence that would prove (or disprove) that this gentleman was driving with a blood alcohol level over .08.]
  • counsel: One or more lawyers who represent a client. [KC – And this was where the circus began! The defendant (see below) had two lawyers. One was a gruff, obnoxious older man who looked like a Dick Tracy villain stomping around the courtroom.
    The other was also very abrupt and treated the prosecutor’s witnesses horribly, asking one police officer, “Was there a curb? Do you know what a curb is?” Yikes!]
  • defendant: The party against whom the case is filed. The accused person or party; the person named as the wrongdoer in a criminal action. [KC – We will call him Mr. X.]
  • prosecuting attorney: A public officer whose duty is the prosecution of criminal proceedings on behalf of the citizenry; sometimes referred to as "district attorney" or "city attorney."
  • evidence: Any type of legal proof presented at trial through witnesses, records, and/or exhibits. [KC – Three police officers, two forensic experts, one former police chief, and a partridge in a pear tree.]
  • direct examination: The first interrogation of a witness by the party on whose behalf the witness is called.
  • cross-examination: Questioning by a party or his attorney of an adverse party or a witness called by an adverse party.
  • testimony: An oral declaration made by a witness or party under oath.
  • sidebar: Refers to a conference between Court and counsel held at the side of the bench and out of the hearing of the jury. [KC – I prefer salad bars to sidebars. There were many interruptions for these breaks, where the attorneys and judge conferred. It seems that they were conferring
    on the law and what was within the limits of what each party could say. But that is total speculation since we weren’t supposed to be able to hear anything over in the jury box.]
  • sustain: To uphold or affirm or accept an objection.
  • overrule: To disallow; to rule against an argument or objection made in the course of a trial or proceeding.
  • motion: An oral or written request to the court made by a party for a ruling or order. [KC – We often heard “motion to strike” with regards to certain comments made by the witnesses.]
  • hearsay: A type of testimony given by a witness who relates not what he/she knows personally, but what others have told the witness, or what the witness has heard said by others; may be admissible or inadmissible in court depending upon rules of evidence. [KC – In this case, when one of
    the lawyers would yell out “Objection! Hearsay!” it was usually because a witness was referring to information in a report or article that was not previously entered into evidence.]

These definitions are from the following glossaries:

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

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