Preview of Member Only Content
For full access: or Become a Member
Unjust Courtroom Practice: Always Seating the Prosecution Closest to the Jury
By Mimi Coffey
Jurymen seldom convict a person they like, or acquit one they dislike. The main work of the trial lawyer is to make a jury like his client, or at least to feel sympathy for him; facts regarding the crime are relatively unimportant.1
How can a criminal defense attorney make the jury feel anything for a client when the accused is seated halfway across the room at an uncomfortable proximity?
In courtrooms across America, it is well established that the prosecution always sits at the table closest to the jury. There are no laws mandating such, but it has become an unwritten, uncodified rule of implicit understanding. Whenever a defense lawyer challenges such custom, the judge or prosecution typically replies that the state or government has the burden of proof and is therefore entitled to an added advantage. This article brings to light the illegality of such practice. The fact that the state always sits at the table nearest to the jury proves this is indeed beneficial.
Want to read more?
The Champion archive is reserved for NACDL members.
NACDL members, please login to read the rest of this article.
Not a member? Join now.
Or click here to see an overview of NACDL Member benefits.
See what NACDL members say about us.
To read the current issue of The Champion in its entirety, click here.
- Media inquiries: Contact NACDL's Director of Public Affairs & Communications Ivan J. Dominguez at 202-465-7662 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Academic Requests: Full articles of The Champion Magazine are available for academic and research purposes in the WestLaw and LexisNexis databases.