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IL high court says jurors can ask questions

Wed, 04 Apr 2012 06:31:30 CDT

Jurors could soon take a more active role in certain types of cases. The Illinois Supreme Court adopted a rule that says jurors can ask questions of witnesses in civil trials. Warren Wolfson teaches at the DePaul Law School in Chicago, but before that he was a judge for 34 years. He says he allowed questions in more than two dozen cases, but had little success convincing other judges to give it a try. Wolfson says being able to ask questions makes jurors more engaged in the justice system:


"The questions are good. If you ever think that jurors don't follow and don't understand what the case is about, all you have to do is take a look at some of the questions, and you'll see that they understand all of it."

The questions will only be allowed in civil cases over things like accidents or medical malpractice, not in criminal trials. Jurors won't get to ask questions directly, they'll be submitted in writing and the judge will decide whether or not to put the questions to the witness.

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