Does a jury see everything?
The short answer is no. Often times courts sanitize or redact evidence. Normally, the attorney and the district attorney will discuss and either agree to the limit what the jury can see and not see. And if the parties can't agree on what should and should be redacted then it is usually addressed prior to trial with what is called a motion in limine.
A motion in limine is a motion that is filed on the day or trial that ask the judge to do or not do certain things. The judge hears arguments from the lawyers and makes a decision right at that moment. So, if the parties don't agree to redactions before the day or trial, it can usually be done via a motion in limine.
A common redaction might be medical records and what the jury can, may, should or must see. Often lawyers introduce medical documents. When introduced, the court (and the lawyers) don't want to overwhelm and dump a what could be thousands of pages of irrelevant and cumulative documentation to the jury. Medical record often have private and personal information irrelevant to the case. The redaction process is vital and occasionally time consuming but a very important piece of the process of advocacy.
What does it mean to redact material?
Sometimes juries and courts receive censored documents. These censored documents usually have black markings concealing certain words or sentences. These are redactions.
Why do courts redact certain documents?
Redactions conceal irrelevant information to the case in documents presented to courts. This ensures fairly presented evidence.
Jurors may not speculate about irrelevant information. They may not engage in any guesswork or speculation about excluded evidence. Jurors may only decide the facts from the evidence before them.
Moreover, jurors receive photocopied versions of redacted documents.
IF YOU OR A LOVED ONE HAVE A LEGAL QUESTION ABOUT WHAT A JURY SEES, AND YOU NEED AN EXPERIENCED CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER WORKING ON YOUR SIDE TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS, PLEASE CONTACT CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY WILLIAM J. BARABINO.
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