Is it common for the bailiff to know of a verdict in a court case before the judge reads it? I’m sure they are always prepared for trouble with the announcement of an unpopular or controversial decision. But, are they notified in advance just to make sure they can keep order?
This might be one of those “depends on your jurisdiction” things, but in my experience, no. The parties to the case do not get the verdict in advance, they have to wait for the announcement anxiously, like anyone else. Which is not to say that you can never infer from allusions or side comments made by the judge or jury if chances are good or not, but generally courts try to avoid dead giveaways.
It depends on the judistriction. In the UK, I think even the judge dose not know until it is announced.
I was a jury foreman the other year in federal court. Nobody aside from the 12 jurors knew the verdicts until I read them in court. This was in California if it makes any difference.
I have been on several jury trials (in Pennsylvania, in my case), and nobody other than the jury members ever knew the verdict until the jury foreman announced it. The bailiff and other court members were always out of the jury room while we were deliberating.
Again, this is just in my area of Pennsylvania, but my experience included both civil and criminal trials.
If it’s a federal court, the rules are the same everywhere.
I was a jury foreman (our judge called it “presiding juror”) in superior court last year. The judge had the bailiff get the forms from me and read the verdict himself.
My uncle was a bailiff for many years, and often escorted the jury to and from the jury room.
He said that he frequently knew what their decision was, but that was based on clues from their demeanor and from having heard the evidence during the trial. Nobody on the jury informed him, but after many years he got pretty good at guessing what they had decided.
I would expect that this is fairly common among experienced bailiffs.
I’ve seen pretty similar things (in federal court)–his courtroom deputy would take the verdict form from the jury, hand it to the judge, and then the judge would ask the jury foreman for the verdict.
Not to hijack, but you’ve reminded me of my experience as a waiter. I served tables for many years and towards the end I could predict what customers were going to order and how much they were going to tip the moment they walked in the door. I wasn’t always right by any means but I could maintain remarkable accuracy.
Not entirely. Virtually every U.S. district court and court of appeals has local rules, which vary. There is also some variability in terms of judges’ courtroom procedural preferences, bailiffs’ degrees of assertiveness or curiosity, and juries’ willingness to tip their hands to a friendly bailiff.
But generally, in my experience in Federal, state and municipal courts, no, the bailiff doesn’t know the verdict. An experienced one can come up with a pretty good guess, though.
Correct. In an English court the jury tells an usher that they’ve reached a verdict, but not what it is. Once summoned back into the courtroom, the judge will confirm with the foreperson that they’ve reached a verdict and then invites them to state it to the court. All verbally.
The only difference is that in England and Wales it is possible to have a whats known as a “majority verdict”, meaning 10/12, AFTER premission from the judge has been asked. In that case pretty much every one will know that the verdict is a guilty one since it often is. Was introduced in the 70’s I think.