Trial Process (Before or During Voir Dire)

Jury service is very important and I would like to welcome you and thank you for your service. Before we begin, I am going to describe for you how the trial will be conducted, and explain what you and the lawyers and I will be doing. When I refer to "the People," I mean the attorney[s] from the (district attorney's office/city attorney's office/office of the attorney general) who (is/ are) trying this case on behalf of the People of the State of California. When I refer to defense counsel, I mean the attorney[s] who (is/are) representing the defendant[s], <insert name[s] of defendant[s]>.

The first step in the trial is the People's opening statement. The defense may choose to give an opening statement then or at the beginning of the defense case. The purpose of an opening statement is to give you an overview of what the attorneys expect the evidence will show.

Next, the People will offer their evidence. Evidence usually includes witness testimony and exhibits. After the People present their evidence, the defense may also present evidence but is not required to do so. Because (he/she/they) (is/are) presumed innocent, the defendant[s] (does/do) not have to prove that (he/ she/they) (is/are) not guilty.

After you have heard all the evidence and [before] the attorneys (give/have given) their final arguments, I will instruct you on the law that applies to the case.

After you have heard the arguments and instructions, you will go to the jury room to deliberate.

Bench Notes

Instructional Duty

There is no sua sponte duty to give an instruction outlining how the trial will proceed. This instruction has been provided for the convenience of the trial judge who may wish to explain the trial process to jurors.

(New January 2006)