Jurors' Conduct

During the trial and the recesses, jurors must not talk about the case with each other or with any other person or allow any persons to talk about the case in their presence. In some courthouses, the jurors are provided with a private room to which they, as a body, retire during the recess. If no room is provided, the jurors should not mingle with the lawyers or with the witnesses in the case. They must not accept any favor of any nature including such small items as a soft drink or a ride home from any of the witnesses, parties or counsel. If a juror is approached in any way by a party interested in the outcome of the case, he or she should report this communication privately to the Court. In short, a juror must refrain from participating in any activity which might tend to incline that juror toward one party or the other.

After presentation of the evidence has been concluded and the charge of the court has been delivered, the jury retires to the jury room to consider its verdict. Its first task is the selection of a foreman or forewoman. This person acts as the chairperson of the group.

It is the chairperson's duty to see that the discussion among the jurors is carried on in a sensible and orderly fashion; that the issues submitted for decision are fully understood and fairly discussed; and that each juror has a chance to state his or her views upon every question. The chairperson supervises the taking of ballots, as well as signs any written verdicts which may be required and any written request which may be made to the judge (e.g.as a request for further charge on some point). In selecting this foreman or forewoman, it is well to select someone of experience and general knowledge who will command the respect of the other jurors.