As you may have gathered from the previous discussions, each Judge provides a personalized nuance to the jury trial. However, certain commonalities exist.
Jury Panels. Since we have only one district in Delaware, the jury is pooled from the entire state. While this may seem surprising, since the state is only about 2 hours long and 30 minutes wide, it does not seem to create an undue burden. Nonetheless, distances can become an issue in inclement weather. The Court rarely likes to keep the jury later than 5:30 p.m. General information about the jury panel is available from the clerk's office 3 days prior to the first day of trial. While this material will not be very helpful by itself, it does provide the basics for further jury research.
Voir Dire. In a 1 or 2 week jury trial, the judge will usually seat 8 or 9 jurors from the larger pool. The parties will have submitted voir dire questions with the Pretrial Order. The Judge will voir dire the panel [the lawyers will not ask questions during this part of the process]. In the event any juror answers yes to a question, the juror and counsel will be called to side bar for inquiry. Once the Judge has made inquiry regarding the affirmative response, the lawyers are often permitted to probe further. The juror seated in the first seat on the first row [the seat closest to the witness stand in most of the courtrooms] becomes the Foreperson. The Judge has probably advised counsel during the Pretrial Conference whether jury notebooks will be permitted and what materials will be allowed. All jurors left at the close of the evidence will deliberate. The verdict in this district must be unanimous unless the parties agree otherwise.
Chess-Clock Approach. Another commonality among the Judges in this District is the chess-clock approach toward trial time. The Judge will inform counsel prior to trial (usually at the pretrial conference) the total number of hours allotted to each side. A one-week trial may result in 12.5 hours per side depending on whether the Judge anticipates 5 hours of trial time per day. The clerk will keep official time, counting openings, direct and cross-examinations and closings. Arguments on objections will not be counted as a penalty unless the Judge finds a party is abusing the process.
Trial Record. The Judges believe that the trial record should not be loaded with exhibits or transcripts, which are not presented to the jury. Therefore, only designations read into the record will be considered evidence. Similarly, unless a witness refers to an exhibit or group of exhibits, they will not be available to the jurors during deliberations. Graphics, animations and other forms of demonstrative exhibits are often used at trial. As in the Markman Hearing, the parties need to coordinate to avoid duplication of equipment and resolve any objections. Demonstrative exhibits are generally not permitted in the deliberation room.