Juror Conduct

After you are sworn in as a juror, there are some rules of conduct you should observe.

  • Arrive on time for court sessions. Each juror must hear all the evidence. Tardiness Causes delay for the judge, the lawyers, the witnesses, and the other jurors.
  • Always sit in the same seat. This enables the judge, the clerk, the bailiff, and the lawyers to identify you more easily.
  • Listen to every question and answer. Because you must base your verdict on the evidence, you should hear every question asked
  • and the answer given. If you do not hear some of the evidence, for any reason, ask to have it repeated. If you do not understand some phrase or expression used, it is proper to ask to have it explained.
  • The court may Permit you to take notes. If so, do not let your note taking distract you from listening to all of the evidence.
  • Control your emotions. You should not indicate by exclamation, facial contortion, or any other expression, how any evidence or any incident of the trial affects you.
  • Don't be an amateur detective. The only evidence you can consider is the evidence that is presented in Court. You are not allowed to make an independent investigation or visit any of the places involved in the matter. If it is proper or necessary for you to inspect a place involved in the Case, the judge will so order.
  • When in doubt ask the bailiff. If you are in doubt about your rights or duties as a juror, you should not ask anyone but the bailiff for information. If an emergency affecting your service should arise, consult the bailiff about it.
  • According to Jury Rule 20(a)(8), which permits jurors to discuss the case with fellow jurors during recesses, "(a) the Court shall instruct the jury before opening statements by reading the appropriate instructions which shall include at least tile following: ... (8) that jurors are permitted to discuss the evidence among themselves in the jury room during recesses from trial when all are present, as long as they reserve judgment about tile outcome of the case until deliberations commence. The court shall admonish jurors not to discuss the case with anyone other than fellow jurors during the trial."
  • With the above exception, do not discuss the case or permit others to mention it to you or in your presence during the trial. During the progress of the trial, no juror may discuss the case with anyone, not even with friends or at home with members of his or her family. There is n natural tendency to do so, but it must be absolutely overcome. No juror should permit anyone outside of the jury to talk to him or her about the case on trial. If anyone approaches him or her and attempts to discuss tile case, report it to the judge immediately and privately.
During the progress of the trial, no juror should enter into any conversation with any of the lawyers or parties connected with tile case, or with any witness. While it is permissible to exchange ordinary greetings, further conversation is improper.

If the trial is such as to attract public notice either in newspapers or on the radio, television or the Internet, jurors must not read news accounts or listen to radio or view television broadcasts concerning the case.

The information in this section has been provided courtesy of the Indiana State Bar Association.