Jurors can’t be excluded for reasons of race, gender or religion
DO NOT try to contact jurors before trial ends</li></li></ul><li>Opening Statements<br />Lawyers for both sides lay out their view of the case, what they plan to present to the jury, what they expect the evidence to show<br />Take note of key elements. Try to keep track during the trial to see if they present what they said they would, or if key pieces are missing.<br />
Evidence/Witnesses<br /><ul><li>Ask lawyers beforehand or during breaks about witness lineup so you’ll know when key elements are expected.
If you want to look at exhibits, ask judge during breaks or at the end of the day.
Ask lawyers for copies of new documents/motions filed during the trial</li></li></ul><li>Sifting the Evidence<br /><ul><li>What testimony pointed to the defendants guilt?
What was not presented that lawyers said would be?
Whose testimony was called into question effectively? </li></li></ul><li>Burden of Proof<br /><ul><li>Prosecution bears the burden of proof
Defense doesn’t have to present witnesses or evidence, just persuade jurors that prosecution haven’t proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt
Defendant doesn’t have to testify. That is not to be taken as proof of anything, positive or negative.</li></li></ul><li>Closing Statements<br />Listen to see whether lawyers make same key points as opening, and whether they proved those points<br />
Jury Deliberations/Verdict<br /><ul><li>If you can’t hang around for the jury, ask lawyers or court clerk to alert you when the jury finishes
There’s usually a short time before the verdict is formally announced
Watch for judges’ demeanor, sensitivity</li></li></ul><li>Appeals<br />Trial wins could be meaningless if tossed out on appeal, either at the intermediate appeal court or high court <br />Death penalty appeals are mandatory and go straight to Texas Court of Criminal Appeals<br />In civil context, an appeals court might uphold the jury verdict but reduce damage award<br />