US District Court • Southern District of New York

Handbook for Trial Jurors

Serving the United States District Court

Purpose of This Handbook

Importance of Jury Service

The Courts

The Criminal Case

The Civil Case

The Voir Dire Examination

The Jurors' Solemn Oath

The Eight Stages of Trial

The Arguments of Counsel

The Charge to the Jury

The Jury’s Verdict

Courtroom Etiquette

Conduct of the Jury during the Trial

In the Jury Room

After the Trial


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To decide cases correctly, jurors must be honest and intelligent. They must have both integrity and good judgment. The jury system is based on these attributes. The continued vitality of the jury system depends on them.

To meet their responsibility, jurors must decide the facts and apply the law impartially. They must not favor the rich or the poor. They must treat alike all men and women, corporations and individuals. Justice should be rendered to all persons without regard to race, color, religion or sex.

The performance of jury service is the fulfillment of a high civic obligation. Conscientious service brings its own reward in the satisfaction of an important task well done. There is no more valuable work that the average citizen can perform in support of our Government than the full and honest discharge of jury duty.

The effectiveness of the democratic system itself is largely measured by the integrity, the intelligence, and the general quality of citizenship of the jurors who serve in our courts.