New Juror Orientation Video Unveiled by Bar Foundation

A new juror orientation video to complement judges’ instructions in Nebraska courtrooms has been produced and released by the Nebraska State Bar Foundation. The video can be found on the Nebraska State Bar Foundation website at nebarfnd.org. Production of the video was underwritten by the Bar Foundation.

Doris Huffman, executive director of the Bar Foundation, said the Foundation is especially pleased with the video’s use of original watercolor prints by a Lincoln artist. “The video is short, informative and well-suited to today’s busy lives and divided attention spans. It is also visually and aesthetically pleasing. Plus, the artwork is timeless,” she said. “The production has been a labor of love.”

The video represents the ongoing collaboration between the Bar Foundation and the Nebraska news media through the Foundation’s Bench Media Committee, Huffman said. A representative of the Nebraska Broadcasters’ Association worked to secure a narrator for the video.

“The new juror orientation video is an accurate, down-to-earth portrayal of what goes on in courtrooms across Nebraska daily,” said Robert D. Mullin Jr., president of the Bar Foundation. “As a trial attorney, I am impressed with the content of the video and the watercolor prints that remind us of courtroom sketches used to depict real court proceedings. The video gives prospective jurors solid, basic information that will allow them to feel comfortable and confident in their roles should they be chosen to serve on a jury in Nebraska.”

The video offers a brief history of jury trials in America and emphasizes the rights and responsibilities of jury duty, as stated in the U.S. Constitution. It highlights the role of the judge, court reporter, litigants, prosecuting and defense attorneys and jury foreperson.  It reviews the differences between a civil and criminal trial and addresses social media.

District Court Judge Derek Weimer, Sidney, Nebraska, said "I recently showed the Nebraska State Bar Foundation's new Juror Orientation Video to prospective jury members.  The video provided a great overview of the juror’s responsibilities and also cautioned them not to engage on social media during the trial.  I encourage my colleagues to show this educational video to prospective jurors." 

Other courtroom practices addressed in the video are voir dire, opening statements, rules of evidence, witnesses, closing arguments and the jury’s written instructions.

In the opening, the narrator explains the right and responsibility of jury duty. “Serving on a jury gives an ordinary citizen a direct hand in the administration of justice. Jury service connects people from all walks of life, regardless of race, class, disability, creed or ethnicity. Your jury service is invaluable. This trial is important to all those involved,” the video begins. “When you, the juror, perform your duty objectively, you contribute to the fairest system of justice in the world,” the video concludes.

To view the video visit https://www.nebarfnd.org/civics-education/juror-orientation-video.