Order of events in a trial

Opening statements

The lawyers for each side may explain the case, the evidence they will present and the issues for the jury to decide.

Presentation of evidence

The evidence consists of the testimony of witnesses and the exhibits allowed by the judge. Exhibits admitted into evidence will be available to the jury for examination during deliberations. The jury will be asked to make decisions regarding disputed facts; therefore, jurors attention at all times is critically important. Juror note taking or the use of any notes will be determined by the judge.

Rulings by the judge

The judge may be asked to decide questions of law during the trial. Occasionally, the judge may ask jurors to leave the courtroom while the lawyers make their legal arguments. The jurors should understand that such interruptions are needed to make sure that their verdict is based upon proper evidence, as determined by the judge under the Rules of Evidence. Jurors may give the evidence whatever weight they consider appropriate.

Closing arguments

At the close of all the evidence, the lawyers have the opportunity to summarize the evidence in their closing arguments and attempt to persuade the jury to accept their view of the case.

Instructions to the jury

After closing arguments, the judge will read the instructions to the jury explaining the law and other considerations in the case.


After instructions, the jury is isolated to decide the verdict in the case.