Artwork for podcast Jersey Justice
From Gavel to Verdict: The Role of a Jury in a New Jersey Trial
Episode 207th December 2023 • Jersey Justice • Gerald H. Clark, Esq.
00:00:00 00:16:10

Share Episode

Shownotes

Episode 20 of Jersey Justice™ Podcast: From Gavel to Verdict: The Role of a Jury in a New Jersey Trial and the Trial Process

Watch the Entire Episode on YouTube

https://youtu.be/UuhHOVOCoyg


SUBSCRIBE ON YOUTUBE

Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/@Clarklawnj


SUBMIT YOUR QUESTIONS


Submit Your Podcast Questions If You Want Us to Answer Them on Our Show: questions@jerseyjusticepodcast.com


SUBSCRIBE

Subscribe to our podcast on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. You can also visit our podcast website to listen to all of the latest episodes at: JerseyJusticePodcast.com 


CONTACT US DIRECTLY FOR LEGAL ASSISTANCE


Visit our Main Website for More Information About Clark Law Firm P.C. and our practice areas.

Call us at 1-877-841-8855 if you need legal assistance or chat with us on our website. 


CONNECT WITH CLARK LAW FIRM P.C. ON SOCIAL MEDIA 


Clark Law Firm P.C. on LinkedIn



Clark Law Firm P.C. on Facebook 


YOUTUBE 


Watch Jersey Justice Podcast on Our YouTube Channel


CONNECT WITH GERALD H. CLARK, ESQ.


Gerald H. Clark, Esq. on Twitter


Connect with Gerald on LinkedIn 


CONNECT WITH MARK W. MORRIS, ESQ. 


Connect with Mark W. Morris, Esq. on LinkedIn


Applying to Be a Guest on Our Show or Having Gerald and Mark as a Guest on Your Show


If you would like to be a guest on our show or have Gerald and Mark on your show or for media/press inquiries, contact Dimple at dimple@clarklawnj.com 


Podcast Producer

Podcast Produced by Dimple Dang, Legal Marketing Expert, and Podcaster 



Transcripts

Speaker:

Welcome to Jersey Justice, a

civil law podcast that shares

2

:

practical tips and stories about

personal and workplace injuries.

3

:

Join two of the brightest New Jersey

injury attorneys, Gerald Clark and Mark

4

:

Morris of Clark Law Firm, as they take

you behind the scenes of justice and civil

5

:

law, but first, a quick disclaimer, the

information shared on this podcast is

6

:

for general information purposes only.

7

:

Nothing on this site should be

taken as legal advice for any

8

:

individual case or situation.

9

:

This information is not intended

to create and does not constitute

10

:

an attorney client relationship.

11

:

everyone.

12

:

Welcome back to Jersey Justice.

13

:

Today, we're going to be talking about

the trial process and the role that a

14

:

jury plays in a trial in New Jersey.

15

:

And I'm here with Mark and Jerry, and

we're going to be talking about what

16

:

the role is of the jury, how the lawyers

actually go explaining their point of

17

:

view with evidence in the courtroom.

18

:

So let's see, I'm going to let you

guys pick who wants to get started

19

:

first and chime in on this one.

20

:

I'm happy to go.

21

:

I'll just do a little.

22

:

Little background on that.

23

:

So the question is, what is the role

of the jury in a trial in New Jersey?

24

:

It's kind of everything.

25

:

There's different times throughout

the trial where sometimes the idea

26

:

is like, who's, who's the focus on?

27

:

Sometimes the focus is on

the person who's testifying.

28

:

Sometimes the focus is on the

attorney giving the opening

29

:

statement or the closing.

30

:

But the whole idea of the focus that

we're talking about is the jury.

31

:

Because without the jury,

there's there's no case.

32

:

I think we've talked about

before our clients aren't

33

:

going to have their case heard.

34

:

We're not going to get to call ourselves

trial attorneys and go to trial if

35

:

people aren't showing up for jury duty

and then and then doing their job.

36

:

Occasionally, there's bench trials

in New Jersey where a judge will

37

:

decide the case, but it's pretty rare.

38

:

Typically, it's a jury panel

that's going to decide the case.

39

:

And I think what might be helpful

is just to have like an idea of what

40

:

the day to day would look like if you

get picked as a jury or as a juror.

41

:

A lot of times the judge will say

they want the jurors there at 8, 845.

42

:

Each day there's going to be

different things that happen.

43

:

Like a lot of times once you pick

the jury, say you pick a jury

44

:

in the morning, you probably do

opening statements in the afternoon.

45

:

Sometimes a judge might send

everyone home and then the next

46

:

day that the case will get going.

47

:

But the kind of schedule

for a juror is like 8 38 45.

48

:

You're at the courthouse and the

judge will tell you each day.

49

:

Everything's everything's different.

50

:

There's a mid morning break.

51

:

Usually that's 15, 20 minute break.

52

:

And then you break for lunch.

53

:

That's an hour.

54

:

It's 1230 to one.

55

:

It's another break in the afternoon.

56

:

Then whenever everything's

done, that's a, that's it.

57

:

That's kind of the day.

58

:

And then you come back

and you do it again.

59

:

A lot of cases, if it's like a

standard auto, that it's probably

60

:

a three, maybe a four day trial,

anywhere from two to four days.

61

:

Bigger cases like construction

cases, things like that.

62

:

Jerry just finished one up that I

think was probably four plus weeks.

63

:

Jerry and I have done a construction

case that was almost, yeah,

64

:

that was almost two months.

65

:

It all depends on the nature of the case.

66

:

But that's just kind of because we talk

about how important jurors, juries are and

67

:

how the jury system works and how we pick

a panel, but just like the day to day.

68

:

So I guess people know

what they're getting into.

69

:

It's it's not a horrible day.

70

:

It's 8 30 to 4 30.

71

:

Sometimes it's ending early.

72

:

But like I was saying before, what we

see is the jurors are tuned in like

73

:

they're following what's happening.

74

:

They're paying attention

to what's happening.

75

:

So getting those breaks to kind

of recharge and then come back.

76

:

It's great because the juries can't talk

about the case while it's happening.

77

:

They do kind of get the time to

refresh like behind the scenes, at

78

:

least the way that we try cases, like

every little 15 minute break we get.

79

:

It's rare.

80

:

It's almost, it's almost twisted to call

it like a break because all that is,

81

:

it's just time window you have to prep

for whatever is going to happen next.

82

:

So, like, I'll bring a peanut butter and

jelly sandwich and have 3 bites of it.

83

:

Over the hour break, we have because

you're prepping what's going to come next.

84

:

So that's just kind of a day to day.

85

:

I'm not sure if that's what

you're asking, but that's just

86

:

kind of what I wanted to convey.

87

:

Like, what, what a trial

actually, from a practical

88

:

standpoint looks like for a jury.

89

:

Yeah, thanks.

90

:

That's that's exactly what I was asking.

91

:

And I'm going to ask Jerry now, how

is evidence presented to the jury?

92

:

And trial.

93

:

So once the jury's sworn in, it all

depends on the, on the court schedule.

94

:

But once they swear in the jury, the

jury, they're now the official jurors.

95

:

And generally the, the court will

be like from 9:00 AM till about

96

:

four or nine to four 30, something

like that, sometimes nine to five.

97

:

And then I think.

98

:

There's between the start and lunch,

there's like a 15 minute break and

99

:

then there's an hour lunch and then

after lunch until the end of the

100

:

day, there's a I think it's another

15 minute break in the afternoon.

101

:

And during that time,

it's just packed with.

102

:

Information and legal stuff going

on and the biggest thing with

103

:

juries, the jury experience a lot

of times can be like the objections.

104

:

So the attorneys object and then they

run off to the judge to what's called the

105

:

sidebar, which is like the side of the.

106

:

Judge's bench and then they're whispering

over there about how to deal with an

107

:

objection so that the jury doesn't

hear the lawyers arguing Sometimes

108

:

those objections can go longer and

then then the judge will send the jury

109

:

into the jury room Okay, go back in

the jury room and then they argue out

110

:

in the opening court without the jury

there So that can be a big part of it.

111

:

But once the jury sworn You know,

it depends on the judge's schedule,

112

:

but then the judge may send the

jury home, come back the next day.

113

:

But sometime after the jury's sworn,

there'll be opening statements.

114

:

So in a civil case, the plaintiff

will talk to the jury first and

115

:

give their opening statement.

116

:

And that's like an overview of the

case and what the lawyer expects to

117

:

prove and what the defendant did wrong

and what you're asking the jury for

118

:

so they know what the case is about.

119

:

And then the defendant will

do an opening statement.

120

:

Um, kind of the same idea and then

after those opening statements, then the

121

:

evidence phase of the trial will start.

122

:

So the opening statements to the

juror is not considered evidence.

123

:

That's just argument.

124

:

And then you present the

evidence throughout the case.

125

:

You do it.

126

:

primarily through witnesses.

127

:

So witnesses will testify, and

then as witnesses testify, their

128

:

testimony is evidence, and then as

the witnesses testify, you'll offer

129

:

documents, videos, pictures, things

like that into evidence as well.

130

:

And when it's in evidence, basically what

that means is the jury can consider it.

131

:

So then at trials, so then you

go through and the plaintiff

132

:

will present their case first.

133

:

And then when the plaintiff

has done their case, then the

134

:

defendant will present their case.

135

:

While the plaintiff's presenting the

case, the defendant will be trying

136

:

to cut down the plaintiff's case to

cause confusion, to make arguments,

137

:

to make it complex, to make the

plaintiff's lawyer mess up and stumble.

138

:

That's all the different

things they'll be doing.

139

:

Not to necessarily have the truth come

out in front of the jury, but More often

140

:

in our experience to hide the truth from

the jury, because if the jury were to

141

:

hear the truth over these objections,

and then they would likely rule for the

142

:

plaintiff in our experience, which is why

the defense is always trying to cut us

143

:

down, cut the case down, make it complex,

confuse the jury, because confused

144

:

juries are less likely to find the truth.

145

:

For the plaintiff make it hard

for the plaintiff's attorney.

146

:

If there's a new attorney, they'll

throw out objections just to try to

147

:

throw them off again, not to necessarily

find the truth, but to hide the truth.

148

:

So then after the plaintiff's case

goes, then the defendants will go

149

:

and they'll present their case.

150

:

And then at the end of that, there'll

be closing arguments, which is similar

151

:

to openings, but then the lawyers will

kind of argue about what the evidence

152

:

they think has shown and ask the

jury to rule in their favor and why.

153

:

And then after that evidence is

presented, then the jury goes into

154

:

a jury room and decides the case.

155

:

Um, but before they do that, the judge

will give them a long instruction.

156

:

Sometimes it takes about 20 minutes,

sometimes 45 minutes, sometimes an hour to

157

:

tell the jury what the instructions are.

158

:

And, and so that's it, and then the

jury goes in and decides the case, and

159

:

there's written questions they have to

answer, usually anywhere from four to ten

160

:

questions or so that have to be answered.

161

:

And depending on how they answer

those questions, it, it is then

162

:

determined who won the trial.

163

:

So that's how it, that's how it goes.

164

:

It can be a long process, it could

be as short as a couple days or

165

:

as long as a couple months or

longer, depending on the case.

166

:

Yeah, thanks for sharing that I'm gonna

dive a little bit deeper into that because

167

:

you said a lot of interesting things

that caught My eye one is about the

168

:

part of how let's say maybe the defense

will try to confuse Right the jury and

169

:

they'll try to put doubt in people's

mind and the confusion and to me That

170

:

makes me think of the word gaslighting

I feel like gaslighting is what they're

171

:

doing sometimes and if they're doing that

though Like, I'm gonna ask you guys a hard

172

:

question to think of an actual example.

173

:

Because let's say the defense is

gaslighting and they're putting doubt.

174

:

They're doing these psychological games

that they have to do in the courtroom.

175

:

How is it that when you identify

that, right, how are you going to

176

:

counteract with that to get the

jury back on track to make them

177

:

realize, hey, this is not reality.

178

:

This is only a perception.

179

:

This is a picture that's being painted.

180

:

Well, what we do is that's funny.

181

:

I'm relatively young.

182

:

I'm in like my mid thirties and I hear

gaslighting and I still don't know a

183

:

hundred, a hundred percent know what

it means, but I think I have a decent

184

:

idea based on how you explained it.

185

:

So you're saying when the defense is

trying to poke holes in our case and throw

186

:

this stuff out to confuse the jury and

all that, put it out, like into the ether.

187

:

At least I think Jerry probably

would have a similar response.

188

:

That's why I don't mind jumping

in is we would address it head on.

189

:

If they're trying to say, Oh, maybe this

person had something before, and they're,

190

:

they're acting like it's from this crash,

and maybe they're just trying to defraud

191

:

the system, and they're, or they're,

they're not hurt that bad, and they're,

192

:

they're malingering just to try and get

more money, we would address that head

193

:

on, because we don't take cases where

people are fakers, liars, cheats, fraud,

194

:

like we don't, and we sure as heck don't

take them to trial and get up in front

195

:

of a jury and talk about people who are

really hurt and deserve to get a lot

196

:

of compensation for what's happened to

them if we don't believe in their cases.

197

:

Yes.

198

:

So we would address that head on and tell

the jury straight up either in probably

199

:

in closing or what, but like if our

client, if our client's a liar, a cheat,

200

:

a fraud, we would be the first people

to tell them to give them zero dollars.

201

:

Like to send them out of the courtroom

with 0 because a lot of times what the

202

:

defense does is they don't want to be,

they want to hide in the darkness and not

203

:

make it clear that they're trying to, I

guess, gaslight or say that our clients

204

:

may be a liar, a fake, a cheater or fraud.

205

:

So a lot of times they'll

use their experts.

206

:

Their expert will say things

like symptom magnification or the

207

:

objective findings don't comport

with the subjective complaints.

208

:

Things like that.

209

:

So if we're getting that, because

that that's the whole defense,

210

:

like a lot of the times it's

just to sit back and poke holes.

211

:

So something I was going to say while

Jerry was talking is a lot of times

212

:

the plaintiff's case will take, say,

75 to 80 percent of the trial, and then

213

:

20 percent of it will be the defense.

214

:

Just because it's our burden of proof, we

have to prove each element of our case.

215

:

So the defense will just sit back

and try and poke these holes and

216

:

the gaslight and do all that.

217

:

But I think the worst thing you can do

is just try and run and hide from it.

218

:

Like you have to just attack it head

on and a lot of time to if we know

219

:

there's potentially going to be either

an issue with the case, we just like

220

:

to put it out in the open early on.

221

:

We wouldn't want for the first time

the jury to hear about a potential

222

:

weakness in our case from the defense.

223

:

It's just so much of it is

credibility, both with the attorneys

224

:

and the clients and and all that.

225

:

And I think that's where the

evidence comes into play, right?

226

:

When there's evidence, you

can't argue with the evidence.

227

:

They can try to downplay it, but when

you're going to prepare for trial,

228

:

maybe, last question, what's some of

the most important things or one of the

229

:

most important things you do when you

walk into that prior to walking into

230

:

the courtroom to know that we are as

prepared as we can be for this trial?

231

:

Jerry?

232

:

Yeah, well, probably the most

important thing you can do.

233

:

When you go into a trial is to like you

indicated to be prepared to know the

234

:

file well to know the facts and it's

it's an unbelievable amount of work.

235

:

These cases to know that the facts and to

know the file, but equally important is to

236

:

just be truthful and genuine to the jury.

237

:

But you have to be, you have to be

considered as a reliable source of

238

:

information to the jury, not a gaslighter

and Over the course of a trial, a

239

:

lot of it depends on the judge too.

240

:

If you have eight jurors in the

box, you have a ninth juror, and

241

:

the ninth juror is the judge.

242

:

And you gotta convince the

judge too of your case as well.

243

:

Because if the judge doesn't believe in

your case, the judge is less likely to

244

:

rule in your favor on the things that the

judge has to rule on, those legal issues.

245

:

And the judge decides what evidence the

jury's allowed to hear, which is huge.

246

:

You could have a great piece of evidence.

247

:

If the judge doesn't allow it

in, it doesn't do you any good.

248

:

So you got to convince the

judge about your case too.

249

:

And you have to be, like I said, you have

to be a truthful, a reliable source of

250

:

information for the jury and the defense

is always going to try to cut you down.

251

:

The defense is going to try

to paint the lawyer out as.

252

:

Misrepresenting facts or lying or

a plaintiff's lawyer being like

253

:

a money hungry lawyer that's just

given a bunch of BS just to get money

254

:

as opposed to standing up for the

rights of someone that's been harmed,

255

:

usually by a company or corporation.

256

:

And always we're fighting

at trial, almost always.

257

:

Almost all the time, it's

always for fighting an insurance

258

:

company behind the scenes.

259

:

The insurance company's hiring the

lawyers, the insurance company's the one

260

:

that has to pay any verdict or settlement,

and the insurance company's the one

261

:

that's doing all this gaslighting stuff.

262

:

Even though the jury will never hear the

word insurance at trial, it's all about

263

:

insurance, and it's all about an insurance

company trying to protect its money.

264

:

Can, if I could just piggyback off that?

265

:

Because I'm shocked, like whenever

I talk to friends about cases, like

266

:

intelligent people that Do work not that

different from what I do and I'll be

267

:

explaining a case to him and they go.

268

:

So who who pays that?

269

:

Like where's where's the money

come from or who's responsible?

270

:

It's almost always insurance There's

insurance companies and that is like one

271

:

of the biggest kind of not Handicaps,

not the words, but we're hamstrung

272

:

because we can't tell the jury.

273

:

Hey, we're not suing this guy who was

driving that car We're suing his insurance

274

:

company We're not suing like this mom

and pop construction company or whatever.

275

:

They've got insurance.

276

:

They've got multimillion dollar

policies or huge insurance policies.

277

:

We can't talk about insurance to the

jury, but for people listening, whoever

278

:

at that, it's almost always insurance

money that we're going after just because

279

:

there's, I don't know, that's just how it

works out almost 9 percent of the time.

280

:

If not higher, it's insurance.

281

:

Yeah.

282

:

Thanks.

283

:

All right, you guys, this one's a wrap.

284

:

If you guys have questions in the

audience, you can send them to

285

:

questions at jerseyjusticepodcast.

286

:

com and we're happy to actually

answer them on the show.

287

:

We'll see you guys next time.

288

:

And there you have it, folks.

289

:

Another episode of Jersey Justice Podcast.

290

:

If you're loving what you're hearing,

it's time to hit that subscribe button

291

:

on Apple, YouTube, and Spotify podcasts.

292

:

And don't forget to

leave us a review online.

293

:

Share this podcast with your

friends and become their legal hero.

294

:

Dive into more episodes

at Jersey justice podcast.

295

:

com are Clark law and j.

296

:

com.

297

:

And check out our show

notes for more information.

298

:

If you're navigating legal issues and

need a guiding light, or just a phone

299

:

call away, call us at 1 877 841 8855.

300

:

Again, 1 877 841 8855.

301

:

Until next time, Jersey justice

warriors stay empowered and informed.

302

:

Transcription by

Links