People In The Courtroom

When you arrive for jury duty, you may encounter a variety of different court personnel. Listed below is a quick explanation of the role or responsibilities that each person performs.

The Judge presides from the elevated bench. Just as you have been chosen to decide the facts, he or she is the person who was elected by the citizens of your county to decide the law. He or she conducts the trial, makes legal decisions and explains the law to you.

The Deputy Clerk of Court is responsible for the swearing in of the jury panel, jurors selected and any persons testifying on behalf of the Commonwealth or Defendants. They take custody of any evidence for safe keeping, transporting it to and from the courtroom after it has been admitted. They enter any docket information as it happens.

The Attorney or Counsel could represent either or both sides during a court proceeding. In each case, each of them will make opening and closing speeches to you, examine and cross-examine witnesses and, when necessary, request a decision from the Judge on interpretations of the law.

The Official Court Reporter records all court proceeding, any and all testimony from either side.

The Plaintiff is the party who brings a civil lawsuit. There may be several plaintiffs in the same suit. The plaintiff and his or her lawyer sit at the table nearest the jury.

In a criminal case the Prosecutor, the party who brings the charge (frequently a police officer), and a District Attorney, the lawyer for the prosecution, sit at the table nearer the jury.

The Defendant or Defendants are the parties being sued or, in a criminal case, the person charged with a crime.

The Deputy Sheriffs are security for the court room, and hand paperwork to the judge from either the prosecution or defense. They bring defendants who are incarcerated into the court room. 

The Court Interpreter is responsible for providing language interpreting services to the court. A court interpreter provides accurate, impartial interpretation of court proceedings from the source language into the target language (i.e. Spanish<>English). 

The remaining persons in the courtroom may be witnesses waiting to be heard in a case, litigants, or spectators.

Under our legal system, any and all court proceedings are open to the public except juvenile proceedings; they are not open to the public.