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Jury Trial Management

Thursday, May 23, 2019 | 9:00am - 4:00pm UTC


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With plenty of time for exchange of views and audience questions, this full-day program at the Forefront Conference Center in Waltham will explore the jury trial judge’s options, obligations and available resources. Judges from five Trial Court departments will discuss voir dire and the pros and cons of various empanelment strategies, with attention to recent case law affecting jury selection. We are also fortunate to welcome Professor Janet Randall, of the Northeastern University Linguistics Program, to address a crucial, but often unrecognized challenge: how to talk to jurors in plain language.

The program will also cover troublesome aspects of trial management, instructing the jury, post-verdict events and pretrial conferences. Of interest to all judges in all courts who do jury trials, the program will be particularly useful for judges with up to five years’ experience on the bench, who know the basics and are interested in taking the next step in their professional development.

Program topics:

JURY SELECTION – Methods of voir dire – pros, cons and preferences; what questions to ask; follow up on juror responses (see Comm. v. Williams (2/13/19)); criteria for decision on challenges for cause; peremptories and recent Soares developments; other logistics

  • TRIAL MANAGEMENT – Public trial, press attendance; juror confidentiality, starting trial, mid-trial instructions; demonstratives; order in the court;  juror notes and questions; juror misconduct; security
  • SPEAKING TO JURORS IN PLAIN LANGUAGE – Professor Janet Randall, Linguistics Program, Department of English, Northeastern University
  • JURY INSTRUCTIONS – Models; case-specific instructions; verdict slips; selecting foreperson; plain language in practice; variations in how to instruct
  • DELIBERATIONS AND VERDICT – jury questions, when to give Tuey/Rodriguez, problems with deliberating jurors; replacement of deliberating jurors; inconsistent verdicts
  • PRETRIAL CONFERENCE – Pretrial requests for juror names; motions in limine; self-represented litigants; late disclosure of experts; juror utilization
  • POST-TRIAL EVENTS – meeting with jurors; attorney/press contact with jurors; disclosure of juror names; information learned from jurors

Program Faculty:

Program Chair: Hon. Douglas H. Wilkins, Superior Court
Guest Speaker: Professor Janet Randall, Linguistics, Northeastern University
Hon. Catherine K. Byrne, Boston Municipal Court
Hon. Sabine Coyne, District Court
Hon. Jennifer L. Ginsburg, District Court
Hon. Hélène Kazanjian, Superior Court
Hon. Maynard M. Kirpalani, Superior Court
Hon. Peter M. Lauriat (ret.), Superior Court
Hon Gloria Y. Tan, Juvenile Court
Hon. Kathe M. Tuttman, Superior Court


Thursday, May 23, 2019
9:00am - 4:00pm UTC
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