Juror Orientation Video Voice Track Transcription

CHIEF JUSTICE RECKTENWALD

Aloha, I’m Mark Recktenwald, Chief Justice of the Hawai`i Supreme Court. On behalf of the Judges and the staff at the Judiciary, welcome and thank you for your willingness to serve as a juror. 

Jury service is an important part of our heritage of government by the people.  It is a right of citizenship and represents one of the most direct influences you can have in government.

Undoubtedly, jury service may take you away from your job, your family, and many other personal responsibilities. However, as citizens, we also have certain responsibilities to society which need to be fulfilled if we are to continue to enjoy the privilege of living in a democracy.

Under our Constitution, everyone has the right to be judged like by a group of citizens like themselves. Your task as a juror is important--not only for the outcome of the trial, but because it is the very foundation of our judicial system.

We truly appreciate the sacrifices and special efforts you have made to be here today. We hope you will find your jury service to be educational and rewarding.  Our Judiciary staff is available to assist you in making your experience a positive one. Mahalo.

JUDGE RAFFETTO
Welcome to jury orientation. I'm Judge Shackley Raffetto.

JUDGE WONG
And I'm Judge Frances Wong. We are here to help you to understand what is expected of you during your jury service.

JUDGE RAFFETTO
In the movies and on television, courtroom dramas often show procedures that are not accurate. So, if your idea of a jury trial comes from what you've seen in the Hollywood courtrooms, now you will see how the real judicial process works.

JUDGE WONG
For the next few minutes, we will explain what being on a jury is like. We will also explain the trial process and some of the words you will need to know. After this video ends, the court staff can answer any questions you may have.

JUDGE RAFFETTO
How do people get selected for jury service?

JUDGE RAFFETTO (VOICE OVER)
Under The laws of the State of Hawai`i you are eligible for jury service if you are at least 18 years of age, a United States citizen, and a resident of Hawai`i and this judicial circuit. Prospective jurors are selected from driver license, voter registration and State income tax records.

JUDGE WONG (VOICE OVER)
As a possible juror you received a questionnaire in the mail and returned your response.

Later, you received a summons for jury service that instructed you to report here today.

JUDGE RAFFETTO
And here you are.

JUDGE WONG
At this point you are part of what we call the "jury pool," ready to be assigned to a court.

JUDGE RAFFETTO
Once you've been assigned to a specific court and you are taken to that courtroom, you must follow the instructions of the judge presiding there. The judge will tell you when to appear and provide other instructions.

JUDGE WONG
Often you will have to wait for the parties to discuss legal issues before the trial begins. These issues must be considered without jurors present, so we have to ask you to wait until the court is ready for you.

JUDGE RAFFETTO
Please understand that our system of justice takes time. Be patient and do not leave. You will always be given instructions about what to do next.

JUDGE WONG
Courtroom settings may vary in size and style, but they all have the same features. And trials follow the same basic processes. At the front of the courtroom is what we call "the bench" where the judge presides over the trial. The judge, sometimes referred to as "the court", rules on all questions of law and procedure, gives instructions to the jury and controls the progress of the trial.

JUDGE WONG (VOICE OVER)
When the judge enters or leaves the courtroom, everyone must rise and stand as a sign of respect.

JUDGE RAFFETTO (VOICE OVER)
The attorneys, also referred to as "counsel," represent the parties in a dispute. The parties could be the government, an individual or a company.

JUDGE RAFFETTO (VOICE OVER)
The Court Clerk is responsible for marking exhibits, keeping track of documents and entering the minutes and notes of the proceedings.

JUDGE RAFFETTO (VOICE OVER)
The Bailiff has the authority of a police officer and keeps order in the court.

JUDGE RAFFETTO (VOICE OVER)
The Court Reporter uses a special machine to record everything that is spoken while court is in session.

JUDGE RAFFETTO (VOICE OVER)
When a jury trial begins, potential jurors are called from the jury pool and assemble in the courtroom. In addition to the judge and jurors, there are other participants you should know about.

JUDGE WONG (VOICE OVER)
The jury selection process begins with the clerk randomly drawing names and calling each potential juror to take his or her place in the jury box.

JUDGE WONG (VOICE OVER)
All Jurors in the courtroom take an oath to answer questions truthfully and to the best of their ability.

JUDGE RAFFETTO
Now the process we call jury selection begins. Whether the case on trial is a civil or criminal case, the process is the same. Please listen carefully to the questions even if you are not one of the twelve persons initially selected. Often, persons initially selected are replaced. If you are called to replace a juror and were paying attention to the questions, the questions may not have to be repeated and the jury selection process will proceed more quickly.

JUDGE RAFFETTO (VOICE OVER)
The attorneys want jurors who hold no prejudices against their client. So the attorneys have a chance to question each juror and ask to have that juror dismissed for certain reasons. This is called "challenging the jury."

JUDGE WONG
The two main types of challenges are called "for cause" and "peremptory". If an attorney challenges a juror for cause, he or she must provide a reason. If the judge agrees, then the juror is dismissed. There is no limit to the number of challenges one can make for cause. If an attorney claims a peremptory challenge, the juror is excused and the reason need not be given. There are a limited number of peremptory challenges allowed. If you are challenged and excused, please don't feel insulted or embarrassed. It is not at all a reflection of your intelligence, ability or values.

JUDGE RAFFETTO
After twelve jurors are selected, alternates are called. if a juror cannot finish a trial for good reason, an alternate will take the place of the absent juror. When all twelve jurors and alternates are in place, the judge will instruct the members of the jury regarding the case and the rules of conduct.

JUDGE MILKS
Members of the jury, this is a criminal case, the state of Hawai`i versus Kevin Masters . . .

JUDGE WONG (VOICE OVER)
These rules are very specific. Do not discuss the case with anyone

JUDGE WONG
....not your spouse or family, the court staff or other jurors.

JUDGE RAFFETTO
Do not read about or watch news accounts of the trial.

JUDGE WONG
Do not try to conduct your own investigation or go to places involved in the case.

JUDGE RAFFETTO
If anyone approaches you about the case, do not speak to that person, but you must report the incident to the court staff.

JUDGE WONG (VOICE OVER)
Some activities, such as taking notes, may be permitted. but it is up to the judge to decide.

JUDGE RAFFETTO
There are two types of court cases, criminal and civil. Criminal cases involve the State of Hawai`i against a person or persons accused of breaking a State law. The attorney for the State, called the prosecutor, presents the State's evidence against the defendant.

JUDGE WONG
In a civil case, the plaintiff is the person who is making an accusation or charge against the defendant or defendants. Civil cases may involve an individual or groups of individuals, a government or, as well as one person against another.

JUDGE RAFFETTO
The trial, whether it is a criminal or civil trial, usually begins with the opening statements of the attorneys. The side that is bringing the charges to court begins. So in a criminal case it is the prosecutor who speaks first

JUDGE RAFFETTO
The defense attorney may choose to delay the delivery of an opening statement until after the opposing party has presented its case.

JUDGE WONG
The opening statements are intended to give you a brief idea of what the case is about. What is said in the opening statements should not be considered as fact or evidence. Notice how each attorney's version of what happened is different. That should help to show you what issues are important in the case.

JUDGE RAFFETTO
To establish the facts in the case the attorneys will present evidence.

JUDGE RAFFETTO (VOICE OVER)
Evidence can be a physical object such as a weapon, a document or a picture. It can be testimony from a witness.

JUDGE RAFFETTO
It is very important that you pay close attention to what the witnesses say and how they say it. You must determine the truthfulness of each witness and base your verdict on all the evidence that the judge rules as admissible or allowable.

WITNESS
I'm a night clerk at the meat packing company and Kevin Masters works there too. We both work the 11 to 7 shift.

ATTORNEY
Would you say that Kevin spends a lot of time away from his job?

WITNESS
Yes. I think he has a second job and that makes him late a lot. So maybe he's too tired when he gets to work.

PROSECUTOR (0FF CAMERA)
Objection! Your honor, the witness is stating her opinion.

JUDGE MILKS
The objection is sustained. The jury is asked to disregard that last statement and the evidence is stricken from the record.

JUDGE RAFFETTO
If the judge rules that certain evidence is not admissible, then you will be instructed to disregard what you have heard or seen.

JUDGE WONG
As the trial progresses, one attorney may object to another attorney's statements or questions. The attorney will state the objection and the judge will agree and, what we call, "sustain" the objection, and the witness cannot answer, or disagree and "overrule" the objection, and allow the witness to answer.

JUDGE RAFFETTO
Occasionally the two attorneys are instructed to "approach the bench".

JUDGE RAFFETTO (VOICE OVER)
That means the judge wants to talk with them, out of hearing range, on some point of law or some matter that should not affect your decision.

JUDGE WONG
If this discussion requires too much time, the judge may decide . . .

JUDGE WONG (VOICE OVER)
. . . to recess the jury for a short period until the matter can be resolved and the trial can continue.

JUDGE RAFFETTO
When all the evidence has been presented, the judge will give each of you a set of instructions on what laws apply and what standards you must use in deciding the case. Regardless of what you think the law is or should be, your job is to apply the law as the judge explains it to you.

JUDGE WONG
After the jury has been instructed, the attorneys will sum up their cases and the testimony of the witnesses in their closing arguments. Just as in their opening statements, their closing words are not to be considered fact. They are, instead, summaries of their cases.

JUDGE MILKS
Members of the jury, a verdict must represent the considered judgment of each juror. And in order to return a verdict it is necessary that each juror agree there to. In other words, your verdict must be unanimous.

JUDGE WONG (VOICE OVER)
Now you leave the courtroom to determine the verdict. This is called "deliberation."

JUDGE RAFFETTO (VOICE OVER)
In a separate, private room all 12 jurors discuss the case. The alternates are dismissed.

JUDGE WONG (VOICE OVER)
First you choose a juror who will speak for the group. That person is called the foreperson. It is the foreperson's responsibility to see that every discussion is carried on in a free and orderly way so that every juror has a chance to be heard.

JUDGE RAFFETTO
Listen to and consider the interpretations of the other jurors. There may be differences, even some arguments. However, personal opinion and prejudices should not become a part of the decision-making.

JUDGE RAFFETTO (VOICE OVER)
Every person entering the courthouse is entitled to equal treatment regardless of race, national origin, gender, religion, disability status, sexual orientation, marital status or age. As jurors you have a duty to make decisions with an open mind. So it is particularly important that you strive to recognize and guard against possible biases. Consider only the facts presented in the trial in relation to the law and form your own conclusion. It is all part of the deliberation process.

JUDGE WONG
During deliberations, if the jury is not clear about something concerning the evidence or a point of law, then it communicates with the judge through messages carried by the bailiff.

JUDGE RAFFETTO (VOICE OVER)
In a criminal case the verdict must be unanimous. All 12 jurors must agree. In a civil case, 10 of 12 jurors must agree. The jury foreperson counts the votes, fills out the verdict form and gives it to the bailiff.

JUDGE WONG (VOICE OVER)
The judge will ask for the verdict in open court.

JUDGE RAFFETTO
An attorney has the right to ask to "poll the jury." Each juror will be asked how he or she voted.

JUDGE WONG (VOICE OVER)
Once you have fulfilled your duty as a juror, the judge will thank you and dismiss the jury from the court.

JUDGE WONG
You do not have to talk to anyone about the verdict, and you should never be harassed about your vote.

JUDGE RAFFETTO
We want to thank those of you who participate in jury selection, but are excused early in the pretrial process. We assure you that you are an important part of creating a fair trial. For those who are selected to serve on a jury, you might experience some delay. You may want to bring reading material because it is important that you be prepared to wait through any long delay with patience. By the way, courtrooms tend to be kept cool in temperature, so you also may want to bring a sweater or jacket with you.

JUDGE WONG
Again, we thank you for your participation in our country's justice system. We do appreciate your time, and we hope that your experience here will be rewarding and educational. Thank you.

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