Go to navigation Go to content

It's time for the jury to deliberate. Five minutes into it, they send a note to the judge... "We, the jury, demand to see all the trial exhibits shown during trial. Even those that were not admitted into evidence." Will the judge let them see all those exhibits?

The fact that the jury is demanding, has very little significance.

It's probably a poor choice of words on their part.
Instead, their real intent is to see the exhibits that were shown to them during trial.
 
This is a medical malpractice trial.
It went on for two weeks.
It was hard-fought.
 

There were many experts on both sides.

Each expert used exhibits.
Each expert used anatomical drawings and models to explain their points.
When an anatomical drawing or model was used, it was done for the purposes of explaining to the jury exactly what part of the anatomy was involved.

The anatomical models we're never introduced into evidence.

Not by the plaintiff's side.
Not by the defense side.
 
That's an important point when you consider the jury's demand to see all the exhibits that were used at trial.
You see, in New York the jury is permitted to see, touch and review anything that was admitted into evidence.
 
That includes medical records.
It includes official reports.

It includes letters and correspondence.

It Includes photographs.
It includes x-rays, CAT scans and MRI images.
It includes enlargements that were used by the witnesses to explain.
 
It includes things drawn on a blackboard and preserved through the use of photographs and SmartBoard technology.
 
An exhibit is used to illustrate and explain. 
Is done to help them understand.

There's often no need to introduce an anatomical model into evidence when the medical expert is on the witness stand explaining in detail what happened.

In the jury's demand to see all the exhibits, they believed that everything that was used during trial could be reviewed in the jury room.
 
That's incorrect.
 
 
They can see and review any documents or exhibits that were introduced into evidence.
Any exhibits or anatomical models that were not introduced, they cannot see.
 

There's a key reason for that.

If the jury was given an exhibit or a model to review that had not been admitted into evidence, an attorney could argue during appeal that this swayed the jury in a different direction.
 
At the end of the trial when the judge instructs the jury on the law, he will tell them that they are permitted to ask for and review all documents, models or exhibits that were introduced into evidence during the trial.
 
When the jury asks for every single document and every single exhibit admitted during trial, the reason why can often be unclear.
Maybe they just want to have all of those exhibits to double check something.
 

It does not happen often that a juror actually wants to take the time to read through every single page of every single document that was admitted into evidence.

Besides, the jury also has the opportunity to have the court reporter read back portions of testimony that were given during the trial.
For example, if they wanted to rehear what a medical expert said while using a particular anatomical model to explain the medicine, the judge would have no problem having the court reporter read that portion of the testimony back to them.
 
The bottom line is that the jury is free to request any exhibit that is evidence in order to help them reach their conclusions about whether the injured victim is more likely right than wrong that what they're claiming is true.
 

To learn more about this topic, I invite you to watch the quick video below...