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Former U.S. Attorney, Chris Van Wagner, often appears as a criminal law commentator on national and local television stations. Recently, he provided a public service announcement entitled, "Perspective On A Homicide Case" to explain why a DA might refrain from pressing homicide charges too early in the case.
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Ten Rules For Jurors

As a juror, you are in a position of responsibility and expected to conduct yourself in such a way that no one may question your impartiality and integrity. The following 10 Basic Rules for Jurors may help you to perform your duty.

1. Listen carefully and observe

You will base your decision on the evidence presented to you.

2. Keep an open mind

Remain open minded and refrain from forming any opinions or conclusions until the trial has concluded so that you hear all of the evidence with the same unbiased opinion.

3. Control your emotions

You may be confronted with exhibits or testimony which make you uncomfortable. Be prepared. You should not show any visual or audible expressions that you have been affected.

As well, do not form any emotional opinion about any of the attorneys or court staff. If you do not like a particular attorney, go beyond the emotion and hear his or her questions.

4. Do not discuss the case

During the trial, do not talk with anyone about the case including other jurors. You will have as much time as you want to take to discuss the case at the conclusion of the trial in the jury room when you are deciding the verdict.

5. Do not read, view or listen to media accounts

Newspaper, radio or television reports might present a biased or unbalanced view of the case; the media may have the wrong information, or they may present it in a manner that shadows the truth. Their accounts may influence you. Remember that they are not sitting in that courtroom in the jury box listening to every word of testimony and seeing all of the evidence and witnesses as they produce the testimony. You are.

6. Do not talk with anyone related to the case

During the trial, you cannot talk to any of the lawyers or their associates including their paralegal. You cannot talk with any of the witnesses. You cannot talk with any members of the courtroom. You may however speak with the bailiff, and if you are sequestered, you may speak with the attendants there to help you, but not about the case.

7. Do not investigate the case on your own

If the judge determines that an inspection of the scene or premises involved in a case is appropriate, the judge will arrange for the jury as a whole to make this inspection, and the judge will arrange for the jury to be accompanied by the court officials and parties involved. Do not investigate the case on your own accord.

8. Report any problems to the court

If you become aware of any problems that may affect the trial, any personal problems that may affect you, or any problems of another person that may have an affect upon the trial, tell the bailiff that you need to speak with the judge and report the information directly to the judge. Do not discuss the information or the problem with any other member of the jury or court.

9. Report emergencies to the court

If an emergency or illness affects your jury service during a trial, inform the bailiff or court clerk.

10. Be on time for court

All jurors must hear all of the evidence presented. A jury trial is scheduled on a court calendar, and it is allotted a certain and specific amount of time in order to afford all people the constitutional right to a speedy trial. If a juror is late or absent, it affects the trial.