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Jurors ask the questions in the Roger Clemens Trial

Imagine that you're taking a college class, but you’re not allowed to take notes or ask questions. Now imagine how you feel when it’s time for finals.

This is the experience of many jurors in courtrooms across the country.

Jurors were able to “participate in class” during the Roger Clemens trial in the US District Court for DC. As reported in an excellent story by The Washington Post, jurors were permitted by Judge Reggie Walton to ask questions, after those questions were screened by the judge and all attorneys.

CCE recommended that jurors should be permitted to ask questions in our landmark report Juries for the Year 2000 and Beyond. Among other recommendations, the report states that: “allowing jurors to be more engaged … enhances the trial process and thereby improves the quality of the result.”

Judge Walton is in the forefront on this issue. A 2004 to 2006 survey by the National Center for State Courts found that only 15% of state court respondents and 11% of federal court respondents said that jurors were allowed to submit written questions in their courts.

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