Justice may be blind, but juries are not. If you face a criminal trial in California, the clearest legal argument may not help if the jury is offended by your behavior in the courtroom. Understanding trial etiquette is important.
If your case is set for a jury trial, understand this is not reality television, it is your life. Regardless of the evidence against you, take advantage of the opportunity to appear as an innocent defendant caught up in the criminal justice system. Consider these points:
While charged with studying the facts of your case, the jury is also studying you. It is the nature of every human to make judgments and categorize people regardless of how well they are trying to decide your case. How you look, act, speak and carry yourself has an impact on the opinion being formed by each juror.
Respect is key in a courtroom. This means behavior, dress and demeanor. Always be on time for court dates, stand when a judge or jury enters or leaves the room. While you may take issue with a requirement to show respect for law enforcement, the justice system is the law of the land, and the judge is the referee doing a sometimes difficult job. Dress conservatively for court. Avoid loud clothing or excessive jewelry.
The jury will watch your moves, facial expression and response to critical evidence and testimony. Showing dismay is natural, but showing anger, scorn or indifference could leave jurors with the wrong impression about you.
Some people say wearing glasses softens the image of someone accused of violent crime. But it is not just your credibility on trial. Legal credibility counts, too. If possible, choose a highly reputable attorney known in the criminal justice system for integrity and skill. A seasoned attorney will guide you throughout your trial and appeal if needed.
Posted in Criminal Defense | Tagged courtoom behavior, evidence, jury trial