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Persons in the Courtroom

Persons in the Courtroom

A number of people are in the courtroom who play a part in the proceeding.

  • Judge - The Judge presides from the elevated bench. Just as you have been chosen to decide the facts, he or she is the person who was elected by the citizens of your county to decide the law. He or she conducts the trial, makes legal decisions and explains the law to you.
  • Court Clerk - A Deputy Prothonotary or Deputy Clerk of Court sits in front of the Judge and handles the papers for the Court, assists the court with the jurors and administers the oath to the witnesses.

  • Lawyers - The Lawyers represent the people whose cases you will have to decide. Each side will make opening and closing speeches to you, examine and cross-examine witnesses and, when necessary, request a decision from the Judge on interpretations of the law.

  • Court Reporter - The Court Reporter (Stenographer) sits beside the witness stand recording the testimony of the witnesses.

  • Plaintiff - The Plaintiff is the party who brings a civil lawsuit. There may be several plaintiffs in the same suit. The plaintiff and his or her lawyer sit at the table nearest the jury. In a criminal case, the PROSECUTOR, the party who brings the charge, frequently a police officer and/or a DISTRICT ATTORNEY, the lawyer for the prosecution, sit at the table nearer the jury.

  • Defendant - The Defendant or Defendants are the parties being sued or, in a criminal case, the person charged with a crime.

The remaining persons in the courtroom may be witnesses waiting to be heard in a case, litigants, or spectators. Under our legal system, the Courts are open to the public so that every citizen may see that justice is done.