When one side wants to talk to the trial Judge without the other side being present, that's known as having an ex parte conversation.
What's the problem with that?
One side is there with the Judge.
The other side isn't.
That's a little unfair, don't you think?
The attorney who isn't there doesn't know what they're talking about.
The attorney who isn't there doesn't know the tone of the conversation.
Although highly unlikely, the attorney who isn't there doesn't know if the Judge and the plaintiff's attorney are conspiring against him.
The only time one side can ethically have a conversation with the trial judge without his adversary being present is when settlement negotiations are taking place.
When there's a break during the trial, the Judge will not speak to one attorney alone, without his opponent being there as well.
That's to keep things fair.
But now, let's imagine we're at trial.
Closing arguments have been made.
The Judge has instructed the jury on what the law is in New York regarding your case.
The jury is told they must answer a series of questions.
The answers to those questions will be their verdict.
The jury is told they are not to consider who their verdict will hurt or who their verdict will help.
The jury is now asked to decide whether we are more likely right than wrong.
The jury has questions.