Jurors Submit Questions for Witnesses in Patent Trial

, Texas Lawyer


For the first time in an Eastern District of Texas courtroom, jurors in a patent trial recently got to ask questions of witnesses. It was an experiment that Chief U.S. District Judge Leonard Davis long had wanted to try in complicated patent litigation — the type of case for which his jurisdiction is famous. Davis says he got the idea a year ago at a conference of chief U.S. district judges.

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What's being said

  • Alison K. Bennett, MS

    I am a trial consultant and enthusiastic fan of this practice, having witnessed the benefits in courts outside of Texas. Attached is a link to a blawg post I wrote on the pros and cons of allowing witnesses to ask questions during trial: http://bit.ly/juror_questions .

  • David D. Murray

    As arbitors of fact, jurors should be allowed to interact with witnesses in this brilliant and controlled way. Why let the chicanery, incompetence, or clever obfuscation of trial lawyers rule the fact finding mission? If jurors are going to be asked to decide the truth, then jurors should be able to have the questions that remain in their minds before making their decision. Great work Judge Davis!

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