Jury verdict, piece of paper to Judge, why?

In every jury trial on TV I’ve ever seen, the jury come back into court, and a piece of paper is taken from the foreperson to the Judge who opens it and reads it. Then the Judge asks ‘Have you reached a verdict’ and the foresperson says ‘We have’ and then the verdict is announced.

  1. What is written on that piece of paper? I assume it’s the verdict. If I’m wrong, what’s on it?

  2. If it is the verdict, why this little pantomime? Why give the Judge a preview? And why does the judge ask a question as if he doesn’t already know the answer when he does?

AFAIK if verdict forms have been provided to the jury, the foreman or forewoman gives the signed form to the judge who reviews it for proper order.
Depending on local rules, the judge then reads the verdict, or lets the jury say it, especially if no forms are used.

Oooh, Oooh…I can answer. I was just on a jury last week, and we had to hand over the little piece of paper.

Yes, it is the verdict. I assume it’s given to the judge because he’s the authority in the case, and it prevents the foreperson from just saying something that wasn’t really decided on, and then the other 5 people from nodding in agreement like sheep. Basically, I’d assume it’s just an additional safeguard.

In Los Angeles County, the SOP is to have the court clerk read the verdict. In the only criminal trial I served on, the foreman handed the verdict slip to the judge, who looked at it, and said, “So you found the defendant guilty on both charges, is that right?” Then he passed the slips on to the clerk who read the whole thing “We find the defendant … guilty of violating California Penal Code Section …”