7/6/18 Terminology about Jury (Part I)

  • Jury

A group of people selected to apply the law, as stated by the judge, to the facts of a case and render a decision, called the verdict. Traditionally, an American jury was made up of 12 people who had to arrive at a unanimous decision. But today, in many states, juries in civil cases may be composed of as few as six members, and nonunanimous verdicts may be permitted. (Almost every state still requires 12-person, unanimous verdicts for criminal trials.) The philosophy behind the jury system is that — especially in a criminal case — an accused’s guilt or innocence should be judged by a group of people from the same community (“a jury of peers“), acting impartially and without bias. Recently, some courts have been experimenting with increasing the traditionally rather passive role of the jury by encouraging jurors to take notes and ask questions.

  • Jury Box

The enclosed area in which the jury sits during a jury trial.

  • Jury Duty

The obligation to serve on a jury. In most states, employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees who are called for jury duty — that is, they cannot demote or fire an employee for serving. And a few states require that the employer continue to pay the absent employee.

  • Jury Fees

The rather minimal amount paid each day to jurors for serving in a trial (a flat fee plus mileage from home to court). In criminal trials this amount is paid by the government, while in civil lawsuits it’s paid by the parties to the lawsuit, in equal amounts. The winner is usually entitled to reimbursement of the jury fees paid.

  • Jury Instruction

A direction or explanation that a judge gives to a jury about the law that applies to a case.