Mock Trial part 5: Presentation of Jury Instructions (Charging the Jury)
The judge reads the instructions of law to the jury, defines the issues the jurors must decide and informs them of the law that governs the case. Jurors may not decide cases based on the laws as they would like them to be but must reach a verdict on the laws as they are. This is the juror's sworn duty.
ForepersonUpon retiring at the conclusion of the case, the first duty is to select a foreperson. It is the foreperson's duty to see that discussion is carried on in a sensible and orderly fashion, to see that the issues submitted for the jury's decision are fully and fairly discussed, and to guarantee that every juror has a chance to say what he or she thinks upon every question. Where ballots should be taken, the foreperson will see that this is done. The foreperson is also responsible for presenting the verdict to the court.
ExhibitsIf any papers or other objects marked as "exhibits" are sent in for your examination, care should be taken not to injure or change them in any way. No marking should be put on exhibits.
Views of Others
The jurors should make every reasonable effort to reach a verdict, as it is desirable that there be a verdict in every case. Each juror should respect the opinions of your fellow jurors and in a spirit of tolerance and understanding endeavor to bring the deliberations of the whole jury to an agreement upon a verdict. The jurors should not be afraid to change their opinion if the discussion persuades him that he should, but a juror should not agree to a verdict that violates the instructions of the court. In a criminal case, a juror shout not agree to a verdict of guilty unless the juror is convinced of the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The jury's decision is "the verdict." To return a verdict in a civil case, three-fourths of jurors must agree on the verdict. In a criminal case, the verdict must be unanimous. When the jury reaches a verdict, the foreperson should notify the court and provide the signed verdict form.
If the jury is unable to reach an agreement after open and honest discussion of all issues, and if the jury is convinced that an agreement will not be reached, the foreperson must notify the court. When this happens, the judge decides whether to send the jury back into deliberations, dismiss the jury, or take other appropriate actions. If the judge decides to dismiss the jury, the case is declared a mistrial.