Courtroom Etiquette

What victims should expect in the courtroom and what the court expects of them.


Courtroom Etiquette

Above all, remember the jury is watching you at all times. Jurors often watch victims from the jury selection process until the verdict is read at the end of the trial. If you remember this statement, every other item on this list will make sense.

Make sure your cellphone is turned off every time you enter the courtroom.

Be prepared to see the defendant sitting in the courtroom with his or her attorney.

Do not show negative attention or reaction toward the defendant or their attorney.

Dress appropriately for court. The courtroom is a place to show respect, so please refrain from wearing tank tops, shorts, flip-flops or sweatpants. Dress in layers if possible because the courtroom can be cold, even during summer months.

Try to put aside any difference and look unified as a family.

Limit your movement in the courtroom. No movement is allowed during jury selection, opening and closing statements by the attorneys and the judge’s charge of the law to jurors.

Be quiet, attentive and alert through the trial. That includes no sleeping in the courtroom. Trials can be much longer and seem much more tedious than television shows indicate, but we ask for your attention. It will be noticeable to the jury if you are not paying attention.

When the jury is entering or exiting the courtroom, please stay in your seat.

Please do not talk except for a quiet whisper when necessary.

Do not discuss the case in any manner outside the courtroom. A remark overheard by a juror could potentially cause a mistrial.

Refrain from any disruptive outbursts or comments in the courtroom. If you do become emotional, please do so quietly.

Remember that you will hear many statements made that are untrue and with which you strongly disagree, but you must not react to them.

Do not bring or wear buttons with photos of your loved one into the courtroom during the trial or hearing.

If you do not wish to view pictures of the crime scene or other explicit medical testimony, please let your victim advocate know and they will make sure you are not present during those portions of the trial.

If you are a witness in the case, remember to speak loudly and clearly so the jury can understand you when you testify.

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