Trial Management

The following improvements assist jurors in jury service:


  • Juror Note-taking - Jurors must be permitted to take written notes in all civil and criminal trials. At the beginning of a trial, a trial judge must inform jurors that they may take written notes during the trial. The court must provide materials suitable for this purpose (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 2.1031).
  • Juror Questions - A trial judge should allow jurors to submit written questions directed to witnesses. An opportunity must be given to counsel to object to such questions out of the presence of the jury (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 2.1033).
  • Statements to the Jury Panel - Prior to the examination of prospective jurors, the trial judge may, in their discretion, permit brief opening statements by counsel to the panel (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 2.1034).
  • Assisting the Jury at Impasse - A trial judge may give additional instructions, clarify previous instructions, permit attorneys to make additional closing arguments, or any combi nation of these measures to assist a jury that has reached an impasse (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 2.1036).
  • Pre-instructing the Jury - A trial judge may pre-instruct the jury concerning the elements of the charges or claims in the case at trial, the jury’s duties and its conduct, the order of proceedings, the procedures to be followed for submitting questions if questions are allowed, and legal principles that will govern the proceedings (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 2.1035).
  • Juror Notebooks in Complex Civil Cases - A trial judge should encourage counsel in complex civil cases to include key documents, exhibits, and other appropriate materials in notebooks for use by jurors during trial to assist them in performing their duties (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 2.1032).
  • CALCRIM and CACI - The Judicial Council of California has adopted award-winning plain language civil and criminal jury instructions that accurately convey the law using language that is understandable to jurors.