The prosecutors were first to go. They had what's called the "Burden of Proof" - the responsibility of trying to prove guilt in this case. So for the next day & a half, they presented witnesses on the victim's account...officers responding the day of the shooting, family of the victim, & field experts (CSI-type agents, the coroner, detectives, etc.) Listening the these experts was quite interesting & educational...they explained their processes for conducting an investigation, how they test & compare bullets, what they look for during an autopsy, & so much more.
These witnesses were first questioned by the prosecutor, cross examined by the defense attorney, then any follow-up questions by the prosecutor. Before the witness were excused from the stand, the jury had an opportunity to ask any questions on things that need clarified...written down & given to the judge to ask. I'd never heard of that part of a trial before!
Each of the jurors was given a steno notebook to take notes throughout the trial. This came in quite handy when the deliberation process began. At the end of each day, the bailiff collected them & returned them to us the next morning. Once the trial was over, all our notes would be destroyed.
NOTE: Questions from the jurors & note taking by jurors are up to each individual judge. Some allow both, some allow only one, & some allow neither.
After lunch on Wed. & all through Thurs., it was time for the defense to call their witnesses...friends of the defendant, , neighborhood witnesses, & the defendant himself. Again, the questioning process was the same, but w/ the defense going first.
Many of the questions were asked more than once, but w/ slight variations meant to either solidify the response or trip up the witness! One witness was repeatedly asked by both sides what she was doing the day of the shooting. Finally, after the umpteenth time, the judge interjected & said, "She was cleaning her car!"
Now is a good time to tell you about the judge. He was quite a character & I really liked him! He was very laid back, something I've never expected of a judge, but have since heard from friends who have had similar experiences. At times, it seemed like he was bored or losing track of the trial, but he knew exactly what to say at each "Objection!"
He was great at explaining the court process during Voir Dire & making sure we understood our role in the trial. Both he & his bailiff (a sweetheart of a gal!) made us feel at ease & even asked if & when we felt we needed a break or wanted to continue. I liked the was he looked out for his court reporter, too. I'm sure her hands got pretty tired typing on that shorthand computer!
Friday morning came & it was time for closing statements. This is where we really saw both prosecutors & defense attorneys all fired up to sum up what they wanted us to decide in deliberation. The judge reminded us, though, that it's not their word that should sway our decision, but to look at the testimonies & evidence throughout the trial.
We were then sent to the jury deliberation room w/ all the evidence, our notes, & our lunches (as we chose to work through lunch).