Anatomy of a Courtroom
We’ve all seen courtroom scenes in movies, but rarely experience a courtroom ourselves. If you find yourself on jury duty or involved in a lawsuit, it’s helpful to know the “players”, what they do and the different areas of the courtroom.
● Plaintiff – The party who has filed the lawsuit or brought the case before the court.
● Defendant- The person(s) or entity accused of wrongdoing.
● Lawyers – The representatives of each party. They lawyer speaks to the judge jury and witnesses. Their job is to give the facts of the case and represent their client in a positive light.
● Witnesses – Witnesses have information regarding the case. They present their information and field questions from lawyers.
● Judge – The Judge sits on an elevated bench and presides over the court proceedings. He or she maintains order in the courtroom, decides whether evidence or testimony is allowed, gives instructions for court proceedings and issues sentences for criminal defendants. In the absence of a jury, a judge may also issue decisions in court cases.
● Jury – Randomly selected group of people instructed to look at the evidence and determine the verdict.
● Court Reporter – Records everything that is said at the trial on a stenographic machine or a sound recording. The reporter then transcribes the recording and provides an official written record of everything that was said at the trial.
● Court Interpreter – A Court Interpreter is used in cases where witnesses cannot understand English. He or she provides an exact interpretation of the court proceedings. If the person is required to speak, the interpreter also provides a translation.
● Courtroom Clerk – Usually seated by the judge and administers oaths to witnesses; keeps minutes of the proceedings and generally keeps the trial running smoothly.
● The Bar – Railing that separates the lawyers, jury and judge from the area reserved for the general public.
● Jury Box – Enclosed area where the jury is seated.
● Jury Room – A room located outside the courtroom where the jury goes over the evidence and decides the verdict.
● Witness Stand – Chair facing the courtroom where a witness sits while giving testimony after being sworn in.
● Judge’s Chambers – The judge’s private office. There is usually an entrance behind the bench.
Being in a courtroom can be intimidating, but having an experienced attorney on your side will put you at ease. If you have been injured through no fault of your own, contact Wilson Law, P.A. for a FREE consultation.