1.1-1 Obligation of Juror's Oath
Revised to November 20, 2009
A few moments ago you took
an oath that will govern your conduct as jurors between the time you took that
oath and the time that you are discharged by me after you have rendered a
verdict in this case. That oath and the rules of court obligate you to do
certain things and to avoid other things, and I want to review your obligations
for you now.
First, you must decide this
case based only on the evidence presented here in court and on the law as I will
explain it to you.
Second, do not make up your
minds about what your verdict will be until after you have heard all the
evidence, the closing arguments of the attorneys and my instructions on the law,
and, after that, you and your fellow jurors have discussed the evidence. Keep an
open mind until that time.
There are some rules that
flow from these obligations, and I'll go over them now.
You may not perform any
investigations or research or experiments of any kind on your own, either
individually or as a group. Do not consult any dictionaries for the meaning of
words or any encyclopedias for general information on the subjects of this
trial. Do not look anything up on the Internet concerning information about the
case or any of the people involved, including the parties, the witnesses, the
lawyers, or the judge. Do not get copies of any statutes that may be referred to
in court. Do not go to the scenes where any of the events that are the subject
of this trial took place or use Internet maps or Google Earth or any other
program or device to search for or view any place discussed during the case.
Why? Because the parties
have a right to have the case decided only on evidence they know about and that
has been introduced here in court. If you do some research or investigation or
experiment that we don't know about, then your verdict may be influenced by
information that has not been tested by the oath to tell the truth and by
The same thing is true of
any media reports you may come across about the case or anybody connected with
the case. If you do come across any reports in the newspaper or a magazine, on
TV, or any Internet site or "blog," you may not read or watch them because they
may refer to information not introduced here in court or they may contain
You may not discuss the
case with anyone else, including anyone involved with this case until the trial
is over, and you have been discharged as jurors. "Anyone else" includes members
of your family, your friends, your coworkers; if you wish, you may tell them you
are serving as a juror, but you may not tell them anything else about the case
until it is over, and I have discharged you. You may not talk to any of the
court personnel, such as marshals and clerks, about the case.
Why is that? Because they
haven't heard the evidence you have heard, and in discussing the case with them,
you may be influenced in your verdict by their opinions, and that would not be
fair to the parties, and it may result in a verdict that is not based on the
evidence and the law.
You may not communicate to
anyone any information about the case. This includes communication by any means,
such as text messages, email, Internet chat rooms, blogs, and social websites
like Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, or Twitter.
The parties are entitled to
a fair trial, rendered by an impartial jury, and you must conduct yourself so as
to maintain the integrity of the trial process. When you have rendered a verdict
and been dismissed by the court, you will be free to discuss the case with
anyone you wish, though remember that you are not required to. Until then you
must be focused solely on the evidence presented in the courtroom and your
obligations to the fairness of the proceeding.
In addition, you may not
talk to each other about the case until I tell you to do so, and that will not
be until you have heard all the evidence, you have heard the closing arguments
of the attorneys, and you have heard my instructions on the law that you are to
apply to the facts you find to be true. Why is that? It may seem only natural
that you would talk about the case as it is going on. The problem with that is,
when people start discussing things, they take positions on them and express
opinions which are often hard for them to change later on. So, if you were
permitted to discuss the case while it's going on, you might reach conclusions
or express opinions before you have heard all the evidence or heard the final
arguments of counsel or heard the law that you must apply. Your verdict in the
case might then be improperly influenced by the conclusions or opinions you or
your fellow jurors have reached before you knew about all of the evidence or the
law that will help you put that evidence in the proper context for your
What happens if these rules
are violated by a juror? In some cases violations of the rules of juror conduct
have resulted in hearings after trial at which the jurors have had to testify
about their conduct. In some cases the verdict of the jury has been set aside
and a new trial ordered because of jury misconduct. So, it is very important
that you abide by these rules.
If someone should attempt
to talk to you, please report it to the clerk immediately. If you see or hear
anything of a prejudicial nature or that you think might compromise the proper
conduct of this trial, please report it to the clerk immediately. I prefer that
these communications be in writing. Do not discuss any such matters with your
General Statutes § 1-25.