Federal Jury Practice
According to the United States Courts, in the 12 month period ending on September 30, 2019, approximately 3,200 of the more than 11,400 civil and criminal cases were decided by a jury in the U.S. District Courts. Though jury trials are not the most common way to complete a civil or criminal case, many do get resolved this way, and there are several resources that will help with the unique aspects of jury trials.
This guide highlights the sources available at Jenkins on Jury Practice in the Federal Courts. The resources include sources available to Jenkins' members freely online, on member databases, or in the library. Onsite Lexis and Westlaw access is noted when available. Additional resources may also be useful and library users are encouraged to search the Jenkins' catalog. Primary source materials like statutes, court rules, and caselaw should also be consulted; see the Federal Research guides for how to access primary source materials.
Jenkins' members who have questions or require additional research assistance should contact Jenkins' Research Services at 215.574.1505 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Key Terms & Definitions
The following key terms are useful to know when engaging in jury practice.
Jury Instructions: "Most jurisdictions have published sets of model or pattern jury instructions, used by judges to explain the applicable law to jurors. Model jury instructions are useful in research because they provide a concise summary of a jurisdiction's law on the issues covered, often accompanied by notes summarizing the leading cases." Kent C. Olson, Legal Research in a Nutshell § 7-6 (14th ed. 2021).
Verdict: "A jury's finding or decision on the factual issues of a case." Verdict, Black's Law Dictionary (11th ed. 2019).
Voir Dire: "Voir dire is the process by which the court and the lawyers first question jurors and then decide which members of the jury pool will hear a particular case. Although often described as a process of jury selection, voir dire is in fact the process of de-selection where lawyers seek to identify the least suitable jurors for the case and then have those jurors either struck for cause or excused through a peremptory challenge." James J. Gobert et al., Jury Selection: The Law, Art, and Science of Selecting a Jury § 10.1 (2020 edition).