The last day of trial was short but full of procedure. Court opened around 9:15 and the jury began to deliberate just after lunch.

Before the jury was introduced into the room, the court finalized the jury instructions with counsel. Afterwards, the judge addressed the motion for acquittal made by the defense the previous evening.

Jury Instructions

Then, the jury was brought into the courtroom.

The instructions printed, which took about 15 minutes, due to the size of the instructions.

After nearly every juror had a copy of the instructions, the court once against provided an admonition then read the instructions to the jury. This reading took approximately 40 minutes.

Then, the court read the jury verdict form. The verdict form is a document that the foreperson of the jury signs denoting the decision of the jury (guilty, guilty of a lesser offense, not guilty). This verdict form took 2 minutes and 11 seconds to read. There were 18 possible verdicts because of the number of potential lesser offenses.

Closing Statements

State: 00:22:55

Defense: 00:51:29

State Rebuttal: 00:28:03

Just like opening statements, closing statements are not considered testimony. This is an opportunity for counsel to reiterate themes of the case and show how elements of the law were proven. Because the state has the burden of proof, they provide closing statements first then have the opportunity to provide a rebuttal, the last word before the jury deliberates.


Before the jury leaves for deliberation, alternates are randomly chosen. The judge puts each juror number in a basket, then randomly drew out two numbers. Those jurors were then dismissed. I imagined how those jurors must feel, sitting through days worth of trial, only to be dismissed without discussing it with the rest of the jury.

The bailiff then swears to protect the jury and the evidence.

During deliberation, the jury will elect their foreperson. This is the individual who signs the verdict form and returns the verdict of the jury, “We, the jury, find the defendant [guilty].

Will Laursen

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