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A View From Behind Bars




Iwant to talk about the way that courtrooms are laid out I think that by their design, it already puts the defendant at a disadvantage when he goes to trial Maybe you think that it is ridiculous to claim that the way a courtroom is laid out has an impact on a trial, but let me explain.


Chapter IV. Fair Trial: the Jury



When you walk into a courtroom in California, the [loorplan is basically the same as any other. Since most people have seen at least one trial on TV, you can probably visualise what I am describing. If you sit in the jury box and look out over the courtroom, here is what you will see. Closest to the jury is a witness stand where the witnesses sit when they testify. On the other side of the witness stand is the Judge's Bench sitting high above everything else, so as to give an air of authority. Facing the Bench and witness stand are the tables where the prosecutor and defence sit during the course of the trial. In between the prosecutor and defence table is a podium that the lawyers stand at when they address the court and the jury. Sitting closest to the jury box is always the prosecutor's table, then the podium, and on the other side of that is the defence table. The person on trial is as far away from the jury as it is possible. When I was on trial, I couldn't even see half of the jury, unless I leaned out over the table to look at them. So, this set-up seems to make the person on trial distant, and not even a real part of the proceedings, which in my opinion, makes it easier for the jury to depersonalise you when you are on trial. Meanwhile, the prosecutor is damned near sitting in the jury's lap all through the trial and the jury lias the tendency to relate with the prosecutor a iot easier. This might sound like a trivial thing, but consider this, A witness for the defence is on the witness stand and giving his or her testimony, but all through the witness's testimony, the prosecutor is sitting right next to the jury and reacting to everything the witness says by facial expressions and body language And, if you are saying that this doesn't have an impact on a jury, then you are very naive... or a prosecutor.

TASK 6. Translate the following definitions in loriiing:

CASE — any proceeding, action, cause, lawsuit or controversy

initiated through the court system by filing a complaint,

petition or information. WITNESS — a person who testifies under oath in court regarding

what was seen, heard or otherwise observed. TRIAL — the presentation of evidence in court to a trier of facts

who applies the applicable law to those facts and then decides

the case. EVIDENCE — a form of proof legally presented at a trial through

witnesses, records, documents, etc.


128 Just English. Английский для юристов

TASK 7. Read the text carefully and comment on the advice given to jurors. Be ready to explain the relevance of each item:

Do's and Don'ts forJurors

During trial

1. DO arrive on time. The trial can not proceed until all jurors are present Do return to the courtroom promptly after breaks and lunch.

2. DO pay close attention to witnesses. Concentrate both on what the witnesses say and on their manner while testifying. If you cannot hear what is being said, raise your hand and let the judgti know.

3. DO keep an open mind ali through the trial DON'T form an opinion on the case until you and the other jurors have conducted your deliberations. Remember that if you make up your mind while listening to one witness's testimony, you may not be able to consider fully and fairly the testimony that comes later

4. DO listen carefully to the instructions read by the judge immediately before the jury begins its deliberations. Remember4 that it is your duty to accept what the judge says about the law to be applied to the case you have heard. DON'T ignore the judge's instructions because you disagree about what the law is or ought to be.

5. DON'T talk about the case with anyone while the trial is going on, not even with other jurors. It is equally important that you do not allow other people to talk about the case in your presence, even a family member.

6. DON'T talk to the lawyers, parties, or witnesses about anything. These people are not nermitted to talk to jurors and may appear to ignore you outside the courtroom. Remember that they are not trying to be rude: they are merely trying to avoid giving the impression that something unfair is going on.

7. DON'T try
to discover evidence
on your own- For
example, never go
to the scene of any
event that is part of
the case you are
hearing. Remember
that cases must be
decided only on the basis of evidence admitted in court.


Chapter IV. Fair Trial; the Jury



8. DON'T let yourself get any information about the case from newspapers, television, radio, or any other source. Remember that news reports do not always give accurate or complete information. Even if the news about the trial is accurate, it cannot substitute for your own impressions about, the case. И you should accidentally hear outside information about the case during trial, tell the bailiff about It in private.

9. DON'T express your opinion about the case to other jurors until deliberations begin, A person who has expressed an opinion tends to pay attention only to evidence that supports it and to ignore evidence that points the other way

During deliberations

L DO consult with the other jurors before making up your mind about a verdict. Each juror must make up his or her own mind, but only after impartial group consideration of the evidence.

2. PO reason out differences of opinion between jurors by means of a complete and fair discussion of the evidence and of the judge's instructions. DON'T lose your temper, try to bully other jurors» or refuse to listen to the opinions of other jurors.

3. DO reconsider your views in the light of your deliberations, and change them if you have become convinced they are wrong. DON'T change your convictions about the importance or effect of evidence, however, just because other jurors disagree with you or so that the jury can decide on a verdict

4. DON'T play cards, read, or engage in any other diversion,
5-DON'T mark or write on exhibits or otherwise change or

injure them.

6, DON'T cast lots or otherwise arrive at your verdict by
chance, or the verdict will be illegal.

7. DON'T talk to anyone about your deliberations or about the
verdict until the judge discharges the jury. After discharge you
may discuss the verdict and the deliberations with anyone to whom
you wish to speak. DON'T feel obligated to do so; no juror can be
forced to talk without a court order. DO be careful about what you
say to others. You should not say or write anything that you would
not be willing to state under oath.

TASK S. Translate the following into English:

Присяжный заседатель не должен:

в отлучаться из зала судебного заседания во время слуша-

ния дела,



Just English- Английский для юристов


» общаться по делу с лицами, не входящими в состав суда,

без разрешения председательствующего, • собирать сведения по делу вне судебного заседания,

Just for Fun

A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who Ы&

the better lawyer

* * *

"You seem to be in some distress," said the judge to the witness. "Is anything wrong?"

"Well, your Honour,11 said the witness, "I swore to tell the truth and nothing but the truth, but every time I try, some

lawyer objects!"

+ * *

A man had been convicted of theft on circumstantial evidence. When the case was sent for appeal, he revealed to his lawyer that he had been in prison at the time of the crime committed. "Good Heavens, man!" said the lawyer, "Why on earth didn't you reveal that fact at the trial?"

"Well," said the man, "I thought it might prejudice the jury

against me."

* * *

A man accused of stealing a watch was acquitted on insufficient evidence. Outside the courtroom he approached his lawyer and said, "What does that mean — acquitted?"

f*It means," said the lawyer, "that the court has found you innocent. You are free to go."

''Does it mean t can keep the watch?" asked the client.

* * *

First juror: "We shouldn't be here very long. One look at those two fellows convinces me that they are guilty."

Second juror: "Not so loud, you fool! That's counsel for the prosecution and counsel for the defence!"







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